She uses a complex electronic keyboard that links noun and verb images to give voice to whatever she wants to express.
"Technology is wonderful," says Alessandra's mother, Betty, 46, of San Rafael. "But it's very expensive."
Alessandra's voice-activation machine costs $7,000.
The high cost of equipment required to serve 4,000 special-needs Marin children is what inspired a group of parents to launch Dedication to Special Education 10 years ago.
The group - sparked by a committee of 12 parents - raises money to buy the technology that...