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Is or has anyone used the Picture Exhange System?

Tiffany - posted on 05/16/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have a 3 yr old boy. He babbles and speaks only 3 words. He does try to say words, but we may only get the right vowel sound or syllables or maybe only the first letter right. Mommy sounds like magadeedee. We have been doing speech therapy in the home through a state program. He has been learning some basic Sign Language and has progressed wonderfully with that. It has helped in his frustions from lack of communication. Now we have to start getting speech through the school district. They immediately wanted to label him Autistic or MR and put him a special class. I fought it with the help of his previous SLP. They did all their testing and found he wasn't anything they tested for. I think they really don't know what to label him or how to service him. I just want to make sure he is getting the right treatment. They are insisting we use the Picture Exchange System and I was wondering what some other SLP's are doing to help some other Apraxic children out there.

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Marlene - posted on 07/03/2009

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My son, who is now 4 1/2 has apraxia of speech. He was diagnosed at a very early age (2), and has been in intense speech therapy since. We're done the picture exchange, and it's wonderful. It definitely brings down the frustration level of both you and your child. I'm not sure if this is helpful or not, but my son was referred to a pediatrician who diagnosed him with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), otherwise known as Dyspraxia in the UK. You should google it. Most doctors aren't even AWARE of it, let alone be able to diagnose it. It's also referred to as "clumsy disorder"...and justly so. My son would always be spilling his juice at dinner, or tripping, and things like that. His gross motor as well as fine motor skills were well below par. For the past 6 months he's been in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and still in speech therapy, and has mad drastic improvements. It really is wonderful! :) He can now catch a ball, and climb stairs using alternative feet (which he was unable to do previously). He's made such great gains. The reason I'm telling you this is because I was told that sometimes apraxia of speech, and dyspraxia (or DCD) coincide. Just something to think about! Good Luck and Take Care!! :D

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Deborah - posted on 01/27/2012

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My son is non-verbal and 8 yrs with Autism. We still use PECs but pronounciation at eye level along with them is important. Keep it to one word in the beginning and gradually add words. This is what I'm doing with his agression: "Well, I have been trying to give my son a label for his emotions when he is feeling them (I can tell what he is feeling somewhat of course by his behavior and sounds). I started with 'mad' because this is the emotion most associated with the aggression. He has begun saying 'ma' for 'mad' as that is his level of speech-the first couple letters of words. I had to teach him the 'mmm' sound first with repitition. When he gets aggressive, I have been ignoring the slaps/kicks/aggressive behavior (distancing myself slightly if needed) with no eye contact and no reaction. I ask him 'are you mad?' with a calm quiet tone. Then I cue him by telling him 'say mad' (repeating it if I have to), when he tries I tell him 'good job saying mad'. Sometimes I don't need the cue, he will answer my question with 'ma!' now we need to take care of him yelling it out (leading by example). It didn't take long for him to realize that using his emotion words is a lot easier and more of a relief than hitting and kicking. If he is really upset, I try to redirect to another activity like a book or his fidget/sensory item after he says 'ma'. He sometimes finds the need to say it a few times so each time I tell him 'good job saying mad' and I try to remain as calm and quiet as I can, remembering emotions are transferable and that he has sound sensitivity. I have started with the next emotions-Sad and Happy-so that he might understand there is a difference between labels, there are many emotions and that all of them are ok to feel. This has been a learning opportunity for both of us. The aggression has minimized considerably, I am so proud of him! Although all kids with Autism are different, I wanted to share this because the more tools you have in your toolkit, the better chance you have of getting the job done."

Gianna - posted on 11/07/2009

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At my son's new (special day) preschool, they use the PECS system with him and it works wonders. In my other post I was saying that they use it to get him into the classroom. They show him a picture of a computer and give him the card. He follows them into the classroom and goes right to the computer to play a game. I want to try something like this at home to make things easier. I am working on it now, checking a few websites. So far I have found these:
- http://www.dotolearn.org
- http://freewebs.com/kidscandream/page3.h...
- http://www.childrenwithspecialneeds.com/...

(The middle link has a lot of other links that are really helpful!) :D

Melissa - posted on 09/01/2009

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My 4 year old daughter is globally delayed and has finally started linking 2 words together and initiating what she wants. She has been getting therapy since she was 9 months old in speech, OT and PT and is now in an ECI preschool plus gets private speech therapy. Every therapists has their own ideas of what works and what they are comfortable teaching. I found that for her learning all different ways to communicate: sign language, PEC etc. has helped her. She is more inclined to use verbal words when she knows the signs (she LOVES signing times DVD's and I highly recommend them) and the PEC system has taught her to use a sentence to speak. She uses I want... It took her 8 months to finally say the sentence but once she got it she uses it all the time. I suggest to use as many things as you can because although the words don't always come out of the mouths they and learning everytime we talk, teach and play with them.

Fern - posted on 08/10/2009

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I am not familiar with this method unless you are speaking of a picture board where the child can choose pictures to help them communicate. If that is what they are suggesting, this works great for getting their message across, but doesn't really make them talk unless you ad that into the mix. In other words, you have to make them say something for the picture even if its not right so they are working towards learning the words. I just went through the school to have my son tested for moving from Early Intervention to the school. My son turns 3 in Dec. and like yours, will no longer be eligible for speech through Early Intervention. At first they said he didn't even qualify for services, but they held the eligibility meeting without notifying me and didn't hear what his current therapist or I had to say. So I pressed the school to do the meeting again or I would take legal action and they would have to pay for a private eval. They agreed to do the meeting again with me and his current therapist. She explained that even though he tested well in intelligence and receptive language, that is typical of kids with apraxia. They understand everything in most cases, but can't communicate. She also explained that the tests are not always true measures of what the child can do. So she went on to explain all the issues Ben has had and how he has made some improvements, but that he still has over a 25% delay and will require speech therapy for some time to come. They qualified him for speech and he will be attending a preschool type program one day a week for 3 hours and this will include 30 minutes of one-on-one speech therapy while he is there. It was that or only 30 minutes of therapy a week. That is just long enough for him to feel comfortable and then it would be over. So the point is that we have to be advocates for our kids and push the schools to do the proper evals and if they can't figure it out, then they need to pay for private evals with people who are trained in speech apraxia.

Brandy - posted on 06/28/2009

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My 3 y.o. DD also has very few words. At 3 she had one word ("up"). We've been doing intensive speech therapy (i.e. 5 days/week) since March and are seeing great improvements. We added a PECS type system in May and she uses it quite a bit for backup, reinforcement, and when she can't get her wants across. We have some in the play room, some in the kitchen, and some in the bathroom to correspond to activities in each area. We have found it very helpful. It has not delayed her progress but given her the confidence to "try" more. IMHO. There are some "free" picture on the web that you can download if you search a little.

Sonya - posted on 05/28/2009

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My son is starting kindegarten this year. He also has speech apraxia. He has been in speech therapy for the last 2 1/2 years. This is working but it is slow. I went to his IEP meeting today and they are putting him in a regular class with 600 minutes weekly of speech therapy. However, in the last couple of years, my little guy has been learning a little bit of sign language to go with what his needs and wants are. this next week we also have an appointment with the U of A to help aid us in getting an assisted communication device. This will help him quickly be able to respond in school but also encourages him to talk with it. To my understanding, this is a computer like device that is pre programmed. At first, I thought this would only be a crutch and would take away his "want" to talk. I have been reassured that with him hearing the machine saying the words clearly and him trying to mimic the sounds that it trains the muscles in their tongues and cheeks to eventually be able to say the words without thought after using this for a while. In the meantime, we are going to start the Picture Exchange System. I met another child at his future school that is currently using this and it is working for him. My advice is to use the picture exchange but also look into this communicative device. Also, my son was originally diagnosed with a slow learning disability. This is not the case. He is very cognitive of everything and the only thing that slows him down is the inability to communicate in sentences. I have had a long journey and I know that it can be discouraging hearing doctors tell you different diagnosis but I'm here to tell you to keep your spirits up. You know your child better than anyone.

Jackie - posted on 05/24/2009

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I worked in a class that used the PECS system, the kids were mostly autistic. The school district is probably thinking it's cheaper for him to communicate using PECs vs having someone who knows sign language follow him until he could be understood. I would seek an outside evaluation, you may have to pay for it but it will be well worth it to know your son is getting what he needs. I believe school districts are less likely to argue with outside professional opinions.

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