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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Effectiveness of the Picture Exchange Communication System as a Functional Communication Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Practice-Based Research Synthesis

Tien, K.-C. (2008).
Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 43(1), 61-76.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a review of the evidence investigating the effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system (PECS) for improving functional communication in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Children with autism spectrum disorder

Intervention/Assessment: Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Number of Studies Included: 13

Years Included: Not stated



  • Treatment
    • Cognition/Language
      • AAC
        • PECS - “Taken as a whole… [the] results of the studies reviewed provide evidence for the effectiveness of PECS; specifically, PECS is effective in enhancing functional communication skills of individuals with ASD. Therefore, PECS is recommended as an evidence-based intervention for this purpose” (p. 74). 

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Picture Exchange Communication System

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Added to Compendium: December 2011

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