How symbols can support children with Autism; And how we came to use them.
As you'll see from the triad diagram above, within communication, specifically, it is not solely a delay in language/communication which may affect the child with Autism and PECs and visual aids are not used just to "treat" this "symptom" - a person with Autism, very often, will need visual supports where possible to complete tasks, understand, follow instruction or to remind them of certain things - washing hands, how to behave appropriately in a given place, and so on. Their dependency on these visual supports may change over time. Badger, for example, was fully dependent on PECs to communicate at the beginning. Once this "opened the gate" - as I like to think of it - Makaton was then a useful resource to use for Badger to ask for things or make small comments or demands and, from here, speech developed. Once speaking, however, other difficulties became apparent. Some echolalia, difficulty being involved in an actual conversation, a hard time being understood. Visual aids are still a prominent part of our lives - due to the continued difficulties we deal with and also because it's a comfort to Badger to see for himself what our schedule looks like, the rules, a recap of the day... A lot of the time, it's simply written, Badger is a competent reader and he enjoys written words. One of the best things we can do to help in a meltdown is to get out a pen and paper and write whatever Badger wants us to write - it's sometimes (usually) fairly incoherent, but it's a very effective method to dissolve a difficult situation.
There were also some non-verbal related issues such as eye contact, gestures, difficulty reading facial expressions. I've created this page to share with you some resources which may help a variety of different communication related difficulties.