Running head: RESEARCH DESIGN PROJECT
Research Design Project on Use of PECS to
improve Communication in Students with Autism
Research Design Project
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. Individuals with autism have difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some individuals with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.
One of the barriers individuals with autism have in school and their community is difficulty communicating with people around them. This lack of communication causes behaviors that can impact learning and cause frustration for teachers, parents and the student. What can teachers do to improve communication and reduce unwanted behaviors? This is a question teachers of students with autism ask themselves everyday. Flippin, Reszka, and Watson (2010) states, “ Although estimates vary, approximately 25% of children with autism do not develop functional speech. Thus, the need for early and effective communication training for children with autism is clear. However, given the myriad communication-training strategies available, it is difficult for clinicians to choose the most effective intervention for an individual child with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)(¶, 1). There are no guidelines for teachers to determine which communication strategy is most effective for their students. Without an effective communication strategy students become frustrated, and display problem behavior. Problem behavior may result from deficits in student’s ability to express their...