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Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) are black and white line drawings used in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. These AAC systems may be high-tech (Dynamyte) or low-tech such as a communication board.
Several studies have found PCS to be more transparent than other graphic symbols such as Blissymbols (Mizuko, 1987). A graphic symbol is transparent if “the shape, motion, or function of the referent is depicted to such an extent that meaning of the symbol can be readily guessed in the absence of the referent” (Fuller & Lloyd, 1991, p.217). Because of high transparency, PCS symbols are easy to learn by children with little or no speech. Several studies have reported that children with cognitive disabilities learn PCS easily. The communication interventions for individuals who have little or no speech have used PCS successfully for individuals.
Fuller, D., & Lloyd, L. (1991). Toward a common usage of iconicity terminology. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 7, 215-220.
Mizuko, M. (1987). Transparency and ease of learning of symbols represented by Blissymbols, PCS, and Picsyms. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 3, 129-136.
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