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Communication deficits are a core symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and as a result many autistic children use Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), to facilitate communication. PECS interventions are typically taught in a classroom setting, whereas few studies have evaluated PECS use in a naturalistic setting, such as a playground. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of introducing PECS into a naturalistic setting on social requests (SR), as well as the effects of staff instruction on SR made with PECS. Participants consisted of 6 pre-school aged autistic children who used PECS. Overall, results indicated a significant increase in the percentage of correct social requests following staff instruction, and an increase in the frequency of SR made with PECS. Frequency of social requests remained consistent across phases. Implications for introducing PECS into a naturalistic setting are discussed.



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Effects of PECS and Staff Instruction on Social Requests in a Naturalistic Setting