Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jim Carr

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda LeBlanc

Third Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) is a picture-based augmentative communication method that is widely accepted and utilized across children with a variety of disabilities. Despite its extensive dissemination, there is a dearth of empirically based support to document the effectiveness of PECS. The current study is the first to experimentally evaluate the effects of training during each of the 6 phases of PECS. Results indicated that with all 7 participants, the level of PECS responses consistently increased only after training was completed in Phases 1 through 4. In addition, all of the participants showed an increase in PECS responses during tests for Phase 5 and 6 as soon as training was completed in Phase 4. The current study also replicates and extends work by Bondy and Frost (1994) and Charlop-Christy, Carpenter, Le, LeBlanc, and Kellet (2002) in demonstrating that PECS can be trained in a short period of time and requires few, if any, pre-requisite skills. However, we did find that 3 of the 7 participants had difficulty with some aspects of training and, therefore, required further procedural modifications. The results of the current investigation are discussed in terms of a number of previously unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefit of PECS.

Included in

Psychology Commons