Impact of AAC Versus Verbal Modeling on Verbal Imitation, Picture Discrimination, and Related Speech: A Pilot Investigation Academic Article uri icon


  • Delays in or lack of language development are a primary characteristic of autism. Thus, teachers, families and researchers face the challenge of determining which teaching strategies are most effective and efficient in addressing these communication deficits. This study attempts to add to the literature regarding this issue. A multi-treatment/multi-measure single-case design was used to compare the effects of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with a verbal modeling intervention on four communicative behaviors: (a) picture requests, (b) imitated verbalizations, (c) picture discrimination, and (d) any related speech for a 3 year old child with autism. Results indicated that the PECS training led to increases in picture requests and these results were maintained during the verbal modeling intervention phase. No change in imitated verbalizations was observed following either intervention. With respect to both picture discrimination and related speech, no significant results were achieved following PECS training or verbal modeling. However, during the verbal modeling phase the participant demonstrated a small increase in both picture discrimination and any related speech for both the PECS and verbal modeling item sets. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ganz, J. B., Heath, A. K., Rispoli, M. J., & Earles-Vollrath, T. L.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Ganz, Jennifer B||Heath, Amy K||Rispoli, Mandy J||Earles-Vollrath, Theresa L

publication date

  • April 2010