Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders have deficits in communication ranging from subtle deficits in pragmatic language to a complete absence of vocal communication.
Children who are unable to express their most basic needs often engage in challenging behavior in order to "tell" adults that they need something.
Our first priority is giving children the means to tell us that they are thirsty, hungry or want to play. Often times the quickest way for them to learn to communicate these needs is by giving adults a picture of what they need or want.
The Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS), developed by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost is the most researched and well established alternative / augmentative communication system.
PECS may be a stepping stone towards developing speech, using an electronic communication device which speaks for them, or may be a long-term communication strategy.
The success of PECS depends upon having a trained professional carefully follow the detailed PECS procedure,. which uses the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.
The selection of a means of communication is based upon the child's prerequisite skills and may use vocal speech, PECS, sign language, or an electronic voice output device.