Picos and PECS
Technology has been enhancing lives of those with developmental disabilities for years. For this reason, I’m very surprised by the fact that as far as I can tell, the use of varied technology with children on the Autistic spectrum is quite limited-especially when a great number of Autistic children possess an uncanny attraction to technology.As such, it should become a priority to introduce and develop technology to increase or improve the skills needed for their daily independent functioning. This can include helping them with expressive communication, social interaction, attention, organization among others.
My enthusiasm for Pico projection is no secret. While many scoff at these “gadgets,” this is another area where the Pico will rise as our government sets aside funding for technology to quell the affects of the deluge of autistic children that is enveloping our classrooms.
Here is just one example of an opportunity for increased success. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was designed especially for autistic children who also have delays in speech development. When first demonstrating to the child how to use PECS, the child is given a set of pictures of favorite foods or toys. When the child wants one of these items, he gives the picture to the person with whom he is trying to communicate (usually a parent or teacher) and that individual will in turn hand the child the item requested. The goal is for the child to learn how valuable communication is in achieving his aims and serve as the impetus for the eventual use of natural speech.
Currently, the most common setup for a PECS is a 3-ring binder with a Velcro strip for string and attaching the pictures. Dare I say we need to do better? A little research brought me to Picture This software. Over 5000 high-resolution life experience photographs that are organized 38 categories. I see great potential for the place of pocket projection devices that would instantly project those images for faster, cleaner, and clearer communication and needs resolution.