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Desirae Pillay’s daughter Savannah has autism and cerebral palsy, and this led Desirae toward a career path in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Based in South Africa, Desirae is a passionate voice in the country’s autism community.

My name is Desirae Pillay. I am married to my best friend, Michael and we have three children. Savannah is 21 years old, Talisa is 15 years old and Eli Michael is 10 years old. Savannah is autistic, has global cerebral palsy and had a scoliosis correction.

I work as an Assistive Technology Advisor for a company, Inclusive Solutions, where our primary work is in helping professionals and families to find the right *AAC tool/strategy for people with little or no functional speech. I also serve on the National Executive Committee of Autism; South Africa. 

I hope to draw attention to Shalom Respite and Care Centre to raise funds for them as I am no longer available to help them have a magical Christmas Party.
I love dancing, great dinner parties with beloved family and friends, and curling up with a great book or watching a good movie.

* AAC is an acronym for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It ranges from using photographs or pictures or symbols to make paper based communication boards or using speech output software with visual representation of words, so that a person can “speak” out loud by selecting a word. AAC includes unaided AAC; this means using signs, gestures, facial expression, verbalisation and/or vocalisations to communicate as well as aided AAC. Aided AAC includes communication boards, devices and computers.

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