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Transitioning from PECS to iPad: Exceeding all expectations

Personal Experience
  • Daisy Clay (Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust)

This case study describes the transition from PECS to iPad for a child in a mainstream school autism unit. The outcomes so far are discussed.


C was a 10 year old girl with autism and speech difficulties, using PECS (Phase VI) – requesting and commenting – with a vocabulary filling two books. After discussion with school staff it was agreed that C should trial a voice output communication aid. An iPad with Proloquo2go was introduced in January 2013.


C quickly demonstrated a range of communication skills and developed her competencies as a high-tech AAC user. For example:

Month 1: C starts to use the iPad to make requests and comments. C becomes more spontaneous and begins to ask questions and seek reassurance. C starts to request new vocabulary.

Month 2: C is using the iPad functionally, spontaneously and effectively throughout the day. The iPad goes home with her.

Month 3: C begins to programme in new vocabulary independently (after the therapist forgets to reset the restrictions!).


C's case highlights the importance of regularly re-evaluating AAC needs in order to enable children to reach their communicative potential. It also highlights the many skills a child may already be demonstrating using a low-tech method of AAC, which could be transferred and extended by a higher-tech AAC device.

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