Helpful Book – A Picture’s Worth

                   Pictures Worth: PECS & Other Visual Communication Strategies in Autism (Topics in Autism)             Perhaps no one appreciates the value of communication as  much as a parent of a child with autism who is non verbal or verbal with limited speech. Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS) has given immense hope for such parents. Agreed as a parent you are fine tuned to the needs of your child, but there are times when the child is so overwhelmed that you are at a loss and using PECS can be great help as it encourages a child to communicate his needs, wants, choices and even opinions! This book is written by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost, the pioneers who developed the PECS.

The first chapter is – What is communication? This focuses primarily on  expressive communication i.e., using language to convey messages. It also talks about what behaviour is communication, why, when, where and how do we communicate, etc. The second chapter is – the other side of the communication coin and deals with receptive communication i.e., understanding the messages from others. The chapter also talks about why its important to understand others as well as what, when, where and how develop this.

The third chapter is – can’t talk? can’t communicate? and deals with the speech and language development delays in children with autism, why it happens and what happens when you can’t communicate. The next chapter deals in depth about the relationship between behaviour and communication and talks about how some behaviour problems act as a way of communication, whereas others don’t. There is good discussion about functional communication training.

The fifth chapter is about Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems (AAC). The topics of what is AAC, why use it and types of AAC symbols like gestures, manual signs, photos, line drawings are discussed. There is information about AAC techniques too, both low tech and high tech ones.

The sixth and seventh chapters are all about PECS – its development and prerequisites for starting PECS. The six phases of PECS are described in detail with many examples and valuable suggestions. The six phases are :
1) The children are taught to initiate communication
2) Expands the use of pictures to other people, places and rewards.
3) making specific choices between pictures is addressed.
4) Making simple sentences and being more specific about what they want.
5) teaches child to respond to specific questions and
6) teaches children to comment about various items and activities.

The eight chapter is – Using visual strategies to enhance understanding and deals with following instructions, schedules, concept of ‘wait’ and many more.

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