A Picture's Worth: PECS and Other Visual Communication Strategies in Autism, Second Edition

Written by Andy Bondy, Ph.D. & Lori Frost, CCC-SLP

Format: Paperback, 146 pages, 5.5" x 8.5"
ISBN: 9781606130155
Price: $21.95

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This user-friendly guide introduces PECS (the Picture Exchange Communication System), a simple and empowering communication tool in which partners exchange cards with photos or line drawings representing objects, attributes, and actions. A child or adult who has delayed or no speech can easily express his basic desires (e.g., “ice cream”) or needs using a PECS card without prompting from another. And as a person’s PECS usage progresses, he or she learns to put pictures together in sentences to express desires (e.g., “I want chocolate ice cream.”), to comment, and to ask questions.

A Picture’s Worth examines verbal communication development and how autism affects these skills, and shows how a child’s poor communication skills can lead to problem behaviors. Providing communication options—PECS and the other augmentative and alternative communication strategies (AAC)—described in the book, reduces frustration and enhances learning.

This second edition cites research that proves PECS (and other AAC strategies) doesn’t interfere with the development of speaking skills, and actually can provide a boost to the acquisition of these skills. There’s also expanded information on:

  • Deciding whether a child needs AAC and could benefit from PECS
  • Who is an appropriate candidate for PECS
  • Error correction strategies during the initial stages of PECS
  • How to choose challenging behaviors to try to eliminate
  • What to do when a child does not look at pictures

Thousands of people with autism and other disabilities have benefited from using PECS. The book’s complete set of introductory lessons makes it easy for parents and therapists to get started using this low-tech strategy to help young children through adults develop effective communication skills!

About the Authors

Lori Frost is a speech/language pathologist and Andy Bondy is a behavior analyst. Together, they co-developed (PECS), an evidence-based practice that is used around the world to promote functional communication. They also co-authored the PECS Training Manual, 2nd Edition as well as many book chapters and peer-reviewed articles. They co-founded Pyramid Educational Consultants, an internationally based team of specialists from many fields working together to promote integration of the principles of applied behavior analysis within functional activities and an emphasis on developing functional communication skills independent of modality.


"This updated edition of the 2002 visual communication primer by behavior analyst Bondy and speech pathologist Frost covers communication difficulties experienced by children with autism and related disorders as well as methods that can be used to teach them to communicate. The authors reintroduce parents and educators to their Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and other communication strategies based on new research. In addition to their presentation of alternative communication systems, they include information on tools that can be used to implement the systems, such as their timely discussion of how the iPad and iPod Touch can be used as an inexpensive but high-tech communication aid. The authors include stories about children they have worked with to demonstrate real-world applications of their methods. Finally, they discuss how visual strategies can help children meet such challenges as schedule following, waiting, and dealing with transitions. Verdict: The authors provide practical information in a convenient format that parents and professionals can follow step by step. The writing is clear and concise and even humorous and touching at times. Highly recommended for anyone who works with children or even adults with autism." 
Library Journal Xpress Reviews, September 29, 2011

"Bondy and Frost have provided an invaluable resource for every ASD library. Practical, easy to read, and well supported by research, this book provides comprehensive how-to guidelines for providing visual supports to enhance the expression and understanding of critical communication exchanges." 
—Kathleen Dyer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCBA-D, Associate Clinical Professor, Division of Communication Disorders, Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts and Clinical Director, River Street Autism Program at Coltsville in Hartford, Connecticut

"This comprehensive step-by-step guide provides clear ways to use visual methods to help families empower their children to use effective communication. This edition has been updated to reflect cutting edge research and includes state-of-the-art strategies for using the latest technologies. A must-read book for any parent or professional hoping to help children with autism communicate more effectively." 
—Aubyn Stahmer, Ph.D., Research Director, Autism Discovery Institute, Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, California

"A child literally bangs her head against a wall in frustration. She wants something, but can’t seem to tell anyone what it is. Her mother gently but firmly pulls her into her arms to protect her little girl as her heart aches. It’s not an unheard of scene in the autism community. And it’s one that strengthens anew a parent’s resolve to find a way to better communicate with their child who has autism.

"Communication is perhaps the most important skill you can teach a child. A Picture's Worth: PECS and Other Visual Communication Strategies in Autism is a guide to helping one's autistic child better grasp communication through PECS, the picture exchange communication system, an easy to use system that help an autistic child grasp communication at a higher level. A Picture's Worth is a strong pick for educators and parents who want to work the PECS system into a child's education, highly recommended." 
Library Bookwatch, November 2011

"In their book A Picture’s Worth, Dr. Andy Bondy and Lori Frost explain the Picture Exchange Communication System, which assists children with autism in sharing their thoughts and needs. Better communication promotes richer relationships for everyone, as well as greater safety and increased comfort for the child. Bondy and Frost offer parents (and teachers and therapists) realistic hope that better communication may be possible as well as practical advice for how to achieve that goal.

"The authors detail the communication system they created, in which children use pictures to help them communicate. They share how and when to train a child in this system. They explain the training process, how to evaluate results, and how to gradually increase the richness of the communication. As they do so, they are hopeful, but clear and realistic about expectations for results. Along the way, they allow plenty of room for differences between children, celebrate even small successes, and encourage continued growth. And throughout, they share plenty of true-to-life stories that highlight the struggles and joys of working with children who have communication challenges.

"Bondy is a behavior analyst while Frost is a speech/language pathologist. Their various specialties merge seamlessly to provide a comprehensive understanding of the needs of children with autism. They’ve been working with such children and their families for years. Their sensitivity, expertise, and insights shine through on every page.

"While the stories included draw the reader in, the book does sound a bit like a textbook at times. But that’s minimal and to be expected in a manual as instructional as this one. Generally, the authors provide solid, easy-to understand advice that anyone can follow. They are clear that every child is different and that no single strategy will work in every situation, or work to the same extent. Nevertheless, A Picture’s Worth offers a shining light for parents and teachers looking for a way to break through barriers and enrich relationships with their children." 
—ForeWord Reviews, September 2011 

Table of Contents



What is Communication?

The Other Side of the Communication Coin:

Can't Talk? Can't Communicate?

Why Is She Doing That? The Relationship between Behavior and Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS):
Initial Training

Advanced Lessons within PECS

Using Visual Strategies to Enhance Understanding



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