Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21, 3-10.

Abstract: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an evidence-based AAC system that often is chosen as a first intervention for young children with complex communication needs who are not developing spoken communication. Speech language pathologists (SLPs) often plan to transition to a speech-generating device (SGD) for long-term use after students successfully progress through the PECS protocol. The minimum criterion for device selection and purchase should be appropriate and independent use of the SGD across environments. The transition process should begin with an assessment of the student’s PECS skills so modifications can be made to facilitate the transition to the SGD. Teaching strategies that are part of the PECS protocol are used to teach spontaneous, efficient, and effective use of the SGD. Successful transition occurs when the student uses the SGD in social interactions similar to his use of PECS and when he or she has developed the skills that will ensure continued language growth.