Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 637-649

First online:

Evaluating Picture Exchange and the iPad™ as a Speech Generating Device to Teach Communication to Young Children with Autism

  • Elizabeth R. LorahAffiliated withTemple University Email author 
  • , Matt TincaniAffiliated withTemple University
  • , Jessica DodgeAffiliated withTemple University
  • , Shawn GilroyAffiliated withTemple University
  • , Anna HickeyAffiliated withTemple University
  • , Donald HantulaAffiliated withTemple University

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The purpose of the study was to compare picture exchange (PE) and an iPad™ –based speech generating device (SGD) in teaching mands to five preschool boys diagnosed with autism. Participants’ preferences for each device were assessed following training. Three participants met mastery criterion for mands using the SGD more quickly, while two participants met mastery criterion for mands using PE more readily. However, the overall rate of independent manding across training and maintenance was higher for four participants using the SGD. Four participants demonstrated a clear preference for the SGD device and one for PE. Results are consistent with previous research showing that acquisition of alternative communication modalities varies across children with autism, and supports the use of assessment to determine modality preference.


Autism Mand Picture exchange Speech generating device Voice output communication aid Augmentative and alternative communication