Doherty, A., Bracken, M. & Gormley, L. (2018). Teaching children with autism to initiate and respond to peer mands using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Behavior Analysis in Practice, 11, 279-288. https://doi: 10.1007/s40617-018-00311-8

Abstract: We evaluated the effects of systematic prompting plus reinforcement on listeners’ independent responses to peer mands and on speakers’ peer-directed mands using the picture exchange communication system (PECS) in two studies. In Study 1, three PECS users with a diagnosis of autism were trained to direct PECS exchanges toward peers, whereas in Study 2, three peers with autism were taught to accept a PECS card, select the requested item from an array of three items, and place it in front of their peer. Study 1 showed an increase in peer PECS mands that generalized to novel trained peers for all participants. Results of Study 2 demonstrated an increase in correct independent responses to PECS exchange for all participants, a response that readily generalized across peers and settings for two out of three participants. These results suggest that this intervention protocol may be an effective way to increase interactions between peers with autism.

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