picture exchange communication system (PECS)

definition of picture exchange communication system (PECS): A form of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) that uses pictures instead of words to help children communicate. PECS was designed especially for children with autism who have delays in speech development.

Tablet Computers as Method for Kids with Autism to Communicate

Teaser: 

New research from the University of Canterbury has shown that non-verbal kids with autism can use tablet computers to request food and toys.

Body: 

New research from the University of Canterbury (UC) has shown that non-verbal kids with autism can use tablet computers successfully to request food and toys. Dr. Dean Sutherland, UC researcher, explained, “This is an exciting finding that provides evidence to support the use of these devices but we have some way to go to fully complete this study.” Sixty percent of the children they studied preferred the tablet as a way to communicate as opposed to PECs or sign language. Sutherland said their next step is to determine if children learn better communication more quickly if they are using a device they are most comfortable with.

Speech and Language Therapy as Early Intervention for Autism

Teaser: 

This article suggests that a third of the children diagnosed with autism have communication issues.

Body: 

This article suggests that a third of the children diagnosed with autism have communication issues. These issues include not talking, unintelligible sounds, speaking in a sing-song tone, and repetition. The earlier speech and language therapy starts, the better the chances are that the child’s communication skills may improve. Speech and language therapy doesn’t just involve speaking, but also helping a child use facial expressions and body language. Other options used to increase speech and language skills include electronic talking devices, sign language, typing, picture boards (PECS), and facial massage.

A Library in Wisconsin Becomes Autism-Friendly

Teaser: 

Georgia Jones, a librarian at Friday Memorial Library, went to a workshop to train librarians how to make their libraries autism-friendly.

Body: 

Georgia Jones, the youth librarian at Friday Memorial Library, went to a workshop designed to train librarians about autism and how to make their libraries autism-friendly. Jones began a Sensory Storytime and she focuses on “consistency, slower speaking and transition time.” The library also provides fidgets (sensory hand toys) and weighted blankets so the children will feel more comfortable. As well as the training Jones received, the library has purchased books and DVDs related to autism. They also have in place Boardmaker software for families to create PECS, flashcards, and visual schedules. The library hopes to expand into working with teens and adults with autism.

The Need for Evidence-Based Autism Therapies

Teaser: 

At Healing Thresholds we have always advocated for evidence-based therapies for autism; here’s a mom who agrees.

Body: 

At Healing Thresholds we have always advocated for evidence-based therapies for autism; here’s a mom who agrees. Joslyn Gray, creator of stark.raving.mad.mommy blog went searching for evidence-based therapies when her son was diagnosed with autism. She found that while there were few treatments that were evidence-based, there were no lack of heresay evidence that she said supported “just about any therapy from the completely whackjob to the seemingly sensible.” She came across a recent study, led by researcher Margaret Maglione, that rated levels of therapeutic evidence from moderate to insufficient. The lead therapies reported in the research were applied behavior analysis (ABA), integrated behavioral/developmental programs, picture exchange communication system (PECS), and various social skills interventions for Asperger’s and high-functioning autism.

What’s the Difference Between ABA and Verbal Behavior Methods?

Teaser: 

This article is written in response to a question about autism therapy for a child with autism.

Body: 

This article is written in response to a question about autism therapy for a child with autism. The child’s parents asked, “What is the difference between applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior methods, and which one does our child need? The referenced response from the Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance explained that verbal behavior therapy is a type of ABA, and covers any type of communication. Verbal behavior includes sign language, speaking, picture exchange communication system (PECS), pointing, and crying. Because many times the child with autism has communication difficulties, it makes sense to include verbal behavior with ABA.

A Family Shares Adventures with Their Son with Autism

Teaser: 

This article speaks to how creative a family can be when they have a child with autism.

Body: 

This article speaks to how creative a family can be when they have a child with autism. Because the Lettieri’s son, Jordan, cannot speak and uses picture symbols to communicate, they were worried about his safety in the neighborhood. The town of North Tonawanda made a traffic sign for their town, Wheatfield, to warn drivers that a child with autism lived in the area. The Lettieri’s also reported that their son is doing well in the BOCES program at school; he’s good with jigsaw puzzles, and he loves to swim and jump on the trampoline. Knowing that Jordan has trouble with new people, places, and things, they were hesitant about the Autism on the Seas cruise they recently took. They were amazed at the caring staff and their immediate connection with Jordan – the wait staff knew just what he liked to eat, and the respite staff were his good friends so his parents could get away on their own. His dad explained, “He’s just a good, fun-loving kid. You’d have to meet him or be around him to know that he’s just a sweet kid.”

Dragons as Behavior Rewards for Child with Autism

Teaser: 

This article highlights cooperation between teachers, family members, and school peers to help a youngster with autism.

Body: 

This article highlights cooperation between teachers, family members, and school peers to help a youngster with autism change some behaviors. Eli, who thrived in a special class for kids with autism, learned to speak after using picture exchange communication systems (PECS), and even began to read with the help of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). All of a sudden, he began to regress, and the rewards that family and teachers had used in the past were no longer working. First the teachers discovered that Eli’s mom had started working since he had been doing so well in school. Then they figured out that newer younger children in the classroom were getting more attention than Eli was used to. Eli loved dragons and since the Disney movie, How to Train your Dragon, had been used as a reward so often, the staff began looking for dragon toys. Using the toys as a reward began to work for Eli, at school and at home. The added benefit was that other students helped him with his behavior, because they got an extra trip to the toy box.

School District in South Carolina Receives Grants to Improve Schools for Children with Autism and Other Disabilities

Teaser: 

The Berkeley School District in South Carolina received grant money from the South Carolina School for Exceptional Children specifically to upgrade programs for students with autism.

Body: 

The Berkeley School District in South Carolina received grant money from the South Carolina School for Exceptional Children specifically to upgrade programs for students with autism. Uses for the money include training for teachers in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), transition services for children moving from elementary school into middle school, and a job awareness and community connection program for older students with mild to moderate mental disabilities. Dr. Karen Whitley, Chief Academic Officer for the school district said, “Special educators will receive training on 11 effective treatment practices and data collection procedures for children with ASD’s. . . . In addition, parents of Berkeley County youth with autism can receive training on facilitating effective home and school partnerships.”

Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) Training for Young Children: Does Training Transfer at School to Home?

Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) may be easily taught to children with autism, but it may be hard to teach the children to generalize PECS requests outside of therapy sessions and into school

Carre AJM, Le Grice B, Blampied NM, Walker D.  2009.  Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) Training for Young Children: Does Training Transfer at School to Home? Behavior Change. 26(1):54-65.
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