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Abstract

This annotated bibliography features journal articles and books that support the ideals of using visual supports and picture exchange communication systems (PECS) to support communication in individuals of all ages who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental disabilities. While there are sources that delve into other types of communication systems in comparison to PECS, it is evident in my findings that PECS remains supreme in regard to initiated conversation with both prompted and spontaneous communication by the individual using PECS. The sources also list out the importance of including teachers and communication partners during the implementation of PECS and other visual supports so that the individual is receiving consistent learning and communication styles in all environments. An article also supports the ideal that a child learning problem solving skills early on during elementary years will further strengthen social and communication skills in the future. There is a clear trend in that each listed source provides examples of types of visual supports and how those supports can be implemented specifically so that it is most beneficial to the student. For example, one source offers the benefits of tailoring the visual supports to the child’s needs, such as color and organization of the support, so that it is most effective to the child during the intended environment(s). Another source offers a description of the six phases that should occur when implementing a PECS communication book to successfully improve communication and support independence during communication. Also included is information regarding the effects that having autism spectrum disorder or developmental disabilities places on an individual when trying to acquire social and communication skills naturally. Because of the deficits that individuals with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities in the areas of social and communication, additional strategies are required in order to teach those skills. Furthermore, there are also sources that describe those developmental challenges faced by individuals with autism spectrum disorder are also better understood when presented with visual reinforcement, rather than aural communication alone. Because of the increased comprehension gained by individuals with autism spectrum disorder when visuals are incorporated, the demand for visual supports is high. The demand can also be credited by the increase in individuals who have autism spectrum disorder over the past years. With that known, PECS was developed to support the demand and to also support communication independence, as stated prior. While there are no discrepancies listed below on the success of PECS after proper implementation, it is implied that without following the correct steps to implement it into an individual’s daily communication routine, the success indicated by the following sources may not be present. The sources listed highly encourage taking the student’s individual wants and needs into consideration before creating visual supports so that it is tailored to them and will better aid them during communication because it is unique. The general conclusion of all of the sources combined is that students with autism spectrum or who have developmental disabilities will benefit from visual supports for communication.

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