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My DS 2.4 has just had his dx of ASD, he is non-verbal and limited receptive language.
We started an ABA program in November and have seen big improvements with attention and focus, he is more interactive and bringing things to me when he needs help.
We started PECS this week, but I am still unsure if it's a good idea. Obviously I would love for him to start talking, but at the moment I just want to help him communicate better to avoid the frustration he feels.
He seems to have picked up PECS very quickly and can discriminate between pictures, starting to request without prompting, less moaning when he wants something.
What experiences did people have with PECS and later development of spoken language? I have read PECS is a booster to verbal communication, but I still worry that it may stop him from trying to speak....
Also anyone with a child who had limited understanding and whether PECS helped?
We started using pecs as part of an ABA programme when DS was 3.6yo. He picked it up very quickly, we used photos rather than pictures. He started using first letters of cords within a few months and then, less than a year after starting pecs, he was talking. He has been talking if a few months now, putting up to 5 words together independently. He has lots of echolia but ones have narrative and demand based language too. He is 4.8 yo now.
DS has ASD, learning difficulties and obviously speech and language delay by the way. Diagnosed with ASD at 3.6 yo, but we knew almost a year before that.
Thanks welltidy, I am hoping as he has picked it up fast that it will work well for him.
Great to hear your DS is now taking, 5 words together is amazing. Hopefully we will have the same kind of success!
We didn't use pecs but encouraged all and any communication. If he gets it and can use it then embrace it full heartedly. Communication breeds communication.
As others have said communication breeds communication and I think when using PECS that you say the actual word so your DS will be still be exposed to verbal language. Have you considered a training course from Pyramid Training - I've read on here that their courses are very good.
I've been told it doesn't hinder speech and may in fact help.
We've just started using it with my 3 year old. He actually has quite a lot of speech, but it's very disordered and echolalic. His receptive language is quite poor. He can ask for things he wants, but can't answer questions or understand all but very basic instructions. We're not doing PECS proper, but using the same visuals to help him make choices and know what's going to happen next.
He's picked it up really quickly, and he LOVES it. Honestly it's the best thing we've tried so far.
My son is 9 and still almost non-verbal but has some emerging language when in a familiar environment and with a familiar adult.
He has been using pecs since age 2, mostly for food. What I have found is that if he learns a pecs card he is much more likely to learn and use the verbal word at some point in the future.
Pecs are good as a communication tool. My verbal ASD DC uses pecs and timelines and they help to minimise anxieties around routines, times etc.
Thank you everyone for the reassurance.
I know communication of any form is good, it just seemed a bit odd at first, like once he could get his needs met with PECS he might not bother to try verbal communication.
zzzzz - I agree that communication breeds communication and that has helped me realise that PECS can be a good stepping stone - hopefully towards language, but at least to more meaningful communication.
Boobybum - we are definitely still saying the words at the same time, still modelling words and trying for spoken language. The NHS salt has been helpful in explaining exactly what to do, I have heard that sometimes doing it wrong can cause more problems so I have researched quite a lot, plus our ABA tutor is trained and has experience in PECS. I have looked at the course and if DS really takes to it I will take one to really understand the system properly.
Lonecat - great to hear your DS loves it! Can I ask if he had delayed expressive language as well as receptive? I have had a few words from DS, but randomly and rarely repeated. I have heard so much about children with receptive delay more likely to remain non-verbal it would be interesting to know where your DS was at 2?
Last night I printed and laminated lots more photos and today he has been using them loads. Strangely his eye contact is much better as well... hopefully PECS will help to engage him more with me and others.
Feeling pretty positive about it now!!
Sorry Legolady & Mockturtle - was typing when you posted!
Great to hear language is emerging for your DC legolady, food is definitely the main request at the moment for DS!
Mockturtle - I have heard a bit from here about visual timetables and how they can help with anxiety, at the moment DS is fine with routine/transition, hopefully having PECS in place will mean if that is an issue we will have a good tool to reduce the stress for him.
Yes his useful expressive language is delayed.
He's very verbal but probably 90% nonsense (stuff repeated from tv, songs, real life, jargon). He can recite whole scenes from his favourite TV programme with seemingly no understanding!
His paediatrician said he's quite unusual in that most kids with receptive language delay are non or minimally verbal. But not DS!
It made it difficult to get help for DS initially because all the HV was interested in is the number of words he could say. Not whether he could actually use them usefully!
OP, I know that you say that your DS is fine with transition, so you don't think you need visual timetable. I understand why you're saying that.
But please don't dismiss it entirely. At your DS' age, my DS (now 4.9 yo) was fine with transitioning too. No behaviour around it, I didn't think twice about it. I knew that things like visual timetables and now and next boards existed but I felt that I had no need for them. DS' understanding was poor, but it didn't seem to impact on transitioning.
For the last year though, maybe more, transitioning has often been an issue bevahiourally. We've been doing ABA throughout this time, so we've been able to address it, but flexibility/rigidity and control feature prominently in how ASD affects him. I wonder if I could have been doing now and next type stuff before it became an issue, sort of to try and prevent some of the issues arising.
Similar to now staying in top of other things that became issues without me realising. For example, In winter 2015/6, DS had a yellow coat. Just one coat. When spring came, he was very rigid about wearing the same yellow coat, although it was getting too small and too hot to wear it. Similar with shoes, he wouldn't be parted from a certain pair of enclosed leather ones, even when they were not weather or season appropriate. I now make sure that he has at least two coats, two pairs of shoes etc and purposefully rotate them, so that he cannot get too attached or controlling about them.
Hi Welltidy, thanks for pointing that out.
I agree that being ahead of any possible issues is always a good thing.
Although DS isn't having issues at the moment, I have noticed he can be quite OCD and rigid with specific things - the rug being turned up, doors being closed etc.
At the moment he isn't too bothered if it can't be the way he wants, but it may be something that becomes more difficult in the future.
His ABA tutor has also noticed some rigidness - he used to like to run into the kitchen, up on the chair, across the bench and to the sink. The same route every time, As he is easy to redirect at the moment, he no longer obsesses over the route and has forgotten about it
Maybe we can try the now and next and see how that goes. I can definitely see that he might struggle more in the future as the early signs are there. If not then no harm done, it would just help his understanding.
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