Predicting progress in Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) use by children with autism

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TitlePredicting progress in Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) use by children with autism
Publication TypeJournal Article
AbstractBackground: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a widely used communication intervention for non-verbal children with autism spectrum disorder. Findings for the benefits of PECS have almost universally been positive, although there is very limited information about the characteristics of PECS users that determine the amount of progress that they are likely to make. Aims: To explore the utility of using children’s developmental age to predict the subsequent degree of progress using PECS. Methods & Procedures: In a retrospective study, 23 non-verbal 5- and 6-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder attending a special school were assessed to determine their highest level of PECS ability. They were then allocated to one of two groups depending on whether or not they had mastered PECS phase III. All participants had been assessed using the Psycho-Educational Profile—Revised (PEP-R) on entry to the school and before being introduced to PECS. Total developmental age scores were examined to determine whether they accurately predicted membership of the two PECS ability groups. Outcomes & Results: All the 16 children who had mastered PECS phase III had total developmental age scores of 16 months or Conclusions & Implications: The assessment of the developmental level of potential PECS users may provide valuable predictive information for speech-and-language therapists and other professionals in relation to the likely degree of progress and in setting realistic and achievable targets.
AuthorsPasco, G., and Tohill C.
Year of Publication2011
PublicationInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
ISSN1368-2822 (print) 1460-6984 (online)
Publisher DOI
Keywords (MeSH)child, child development disorders, communication aids for disabled, early intervention, language development disorders, nonverbal communication, symbolism