What is it about?

Peers without disabilities were taught to Stay-Play-Talk, including how to 'Talk' using the Picture Exchange Communication System in typical preschool activities. Following peer training, four children with autism (ages 3;0 to 5;1 years) and five peers without disabilities (ages 3;4 to 4;11) showed increased communication during center-based activities, and greater communication and engagement were noted for two children in snack. The results filled a gap in the literature by providing measures of peer communication, detailed peer training steps, and intervention fidelity (average of 90%).

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Why is it important?

Evidence-based early social communication interventions are needed for young children with autism who are nonverbal or minimally verbal and learning to use augmentative and alternative communication (e.g., PECS). Outcomes provide preliminary evidence on the benefits of combining peer-mediation and AAC instruction to increase child and peer communication for preschoolers, and expand on current AAC intervention literature by reporting on multiple child and peer communication outcomes in routine preschool play activities.


Observing the positive changes in the social interactions and communication skills of both the children with autism and their peers without disabilities was incredible. In a very short time, the children became so much more interactive and began to enjoy being with their new 'buddies'.

Dr Kathy Bourque
University of Kansas

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Picture Exchange Communication System and Pals: A Peer-Mediated Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for Minimally Verbal Preschoolers With Autism, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, October 2016, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2016_jslhr-l-15-0313.
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