The Journal of the International Association of Special Education, 19, 37-44.
Abstract: Alternative methods of communication skill development, such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), are often used in speech therapy. PECS has been widely used for communication development in children with autism and has proven its efficacy in a large number of studies. PECS is used with people displaying a variety of communication disorders. A review of the literature over the past decade revealed little systematic activity to document or improve PECS intervention services for bilingual children. This study evaluates the effects of PECS intervention with bilingual children from immigrant families in Armenia. PECS could serve as an alternative tool to improve connected speech in bilingual children from immigrant families, thus enhancing their socialization. The study was conducted with nine Armenian children for whom Arabic or Russian was a native language, and Armenian was a second language. These children did not have a good command of the Armenian
language. PECS was used to improve their fluency in Armenian. Speech and language therapy sessions using PECS were conducted three times a week for six months. Evaluation of connected speech occurred before the language therapy program was initiated, and three and six months after the intervention. After the completion of the language therapy program, the communication scores improved significantly for all students. PECS has the potential to increase the connected speech level in bilingual children from immigrant families. The method can serve as an option to improve the language skills of immigrant children in Armenia and facilitate their social and academic integration.