Authors: Ali E, MacFarland SZ, Umbreit J
Title: Effectiveness of combining tangible symbols with the Picture Exchange Communication System to teach requesting skills to children with multiple disabilities including visual impairment
Source: Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities 2011 46(3): 425-435
Year: 2011
Research Design: Single Case Design

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) program used to teach functional requesting and commenting skills to people with disabilities (Bondy & Frost, 1993; Frost & Bondy, 2002). In this study, tangible symbols were added to PECS in teaching requesting to four students (ages 7-14) with multiple disabilities that included a visual impairment. First, an assessment was conducted to determine the preferred (i.e., reinforcing) and non-preferred items for each participant. Then, a multiple probe design across participants was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the adapted training. Data were collected across baseline, training, and maintenance conditions, and generalization probes were conducted periodically throughout all conditions. All four participants learned requesting skills, generalized these skills to their classrooms, and maintained the skills after training. Recommendations are presented for future research regarding the use of adapted PECS with other AAC programs.

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