Kids with speech disabilities show off speaking skills at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Children who struggle to communicate without an electronic device made some friends at Fresno's Chaffee Zoo on Friday. Kids and teens with speech disabilities took a field trip to the zoo to show off their speaking skills.

The trip was the end of the weeklong Augmentative and Alternative Communication Summer Academy for young people -- a chance to meet others with similar struggles and learn new ways to communicate using photos and words.

"It's really kind of life changing for a lot of the kids because they go to schools where they're the only one who uses this type of way to communicate, so it's a chance for them to meet other kids of a variety of ages and different places that really have the opportunity to share and learn that I'm not the only kid who uses this kind of a device to talk," said Michelle Austin with the AAC Summer Academy.

Some families drove as many as three hours to visit the zoo for the opportunity to meet and communicate with others.

About two and a half million people in the United States have to communicate with an electronic device.
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