Authors: Schwartz IS, Garfinkle AN, Bauer J
Title: The Picture Exchange Communication System: Communicative Outcomes for Young Children with Disabilities
Source: Topics in Early Childhood Special Education 1998 18(3): 144-159
Year: 1998
Research Design: Case Series

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) has become a widely known and used augmentative system for teaching functional communication skills and potentially providing a bridge to speech acquisition. Unfortunately, although there is a great deal of anecdotal clinical evidence about the PECS, there is little empirical information about its efficacy. We present two studies documenting the use of PECS for preschool children with severe disabilities. The first study analyzed the PECS acquisition data for 31 preschool children and demonstrated that young children with severe communication delays and disorders can learn to use PECS quickly and efficiently. The second study followed 18 preschool PECS users for a year. The results of language samples taken at snack time and during free-choice activities indicated that PECS use generalizes to untrained settings and may have concomitant effects on untrained language functions. Directions for future research are discussed.

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