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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 10, pp 1471–1486 | Cite as

A Review of the Efficacy of the Picture Exchange Communication System Intervention

  • Deborah Preston
  • Mark Carter
Original Paper

Abstract

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication program that has become widely used, especially with children with autism. This paper reports the results of a review of the empirical literature on PECS. A descriptive review is provided of the 27 studies identified, which included randomized controlled trials (RCTs), other group designs and single subject studies. For 10 appropriate single subject designs the percentage of nonoverlapping data (PND) and percentage exceeding median (PEM) metrics were examined. While there are few RCTs, on balance, available research provides preliminary evidence that PECS is readily learned by most participants and provides a means of communication for individuals with little or no functional speech. Very limited data suggest some positive effect on both social-communicative and challenging behaviors, while effects on speech development remain unclear. Directions for future research are discussed including the priority need for further well-conducted RCTs.

Keywords

Picture exchange communication system Augmentative and alternative communication Autism 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie University Special Education CentreMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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