Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


10th Annual Autism Conference; New Orleans, LA; 2016

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #11
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

What's the Emperor Wearing These Days?: Communication, Speech Generating Devices, Apps, and the Picture Exchange Communication System

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
9:30 AM–10:20 AM
The Celestin Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Andy Bondy, Ph.D.
Chair: Grant Gautreaux (Nicholls State University)
ANDY BONDY (Pyramid Educational Consultants)
Andy Bondy, Ph.D., has more than 40 years of experience working with children and adults with autism and related developmental disabilities. For more than a dozen years he served as the director of a statewide public school program for students with autism. He and his wife, Lori Frost, pioneered the development of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). He designed the Pyramid Approach to Education as a comprehensive combination of broad-spectrum behavior analysis and functional communication strategies. He is a co-founder of Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., an internationally based team of specialists from many fields working together to promote integration of the principles of applied behavior analysis within functional activities and an emphasis on developing functional communication skills.

Over 25 years ago, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed and used a training protocol that incorporated Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior to help rapidly establish manding and other key verbal operants in students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental issues. Many research reviews describe PECS as an evidence-based practice, including a recent publication in Pediatrics. In that 2012 publication, which supported the strong evidence in support of ABA, it also noted that there was as yet no evidence for the effectiveness of "AAC devices." However, with the advance of technology involving the use of speech generating devices (SGDs) and iPad apps, many parents and professionals are convinced that the technological advances and the voice associated with such devices will help lead to better communication skills as well as speech. This talk will review recent research regarding such devices as well as apps; it will also review why the PECS protocol is effective with regard to the rapid development of verbal behavior under the stimulus control of the audience (or listener). A similar analysis will then be usedto review whether some of the uses of SGDs and apps ensures that verbal behavior is being established.Finally, the presentation will point out some simple ways to demonstrate whether an electronic device is being used as a toy or as part of a communication strategy.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh