What is it about?

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a popular communication-training program for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This meta-analysis reviews the current empirical evidence for PECS in affecting communication and speech outcomes for children with ASD.

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Why is it important?

A systematic review of the literature on PECS written between 1994 and June 2009 was conducted. Quality of scientific rigor was assessed and used as an inclusion criterion in computation of effect sizes. This meta-analysis synthesizes gains in communication and relative lack of gains made in speech across the PECS literature for children with ASD. Concerns about maintenance and generalization are identified. Emerging evidence of potential pre-intervention child characteristics is discussed.


This metanalysis examined speech and communication outcomes of PECS for children with ASD. Importantly, effects were examined for both single case studies and group designs. In addition, evidence of potentially important child characteristics is discussed, and Phase IV of PECS was identified as a possibly influential program characteristic for child speech outcomes.

Michelle Flippin
University of Rhode Island

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effectiveness of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) on Communication and Speech for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0022).
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