Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication system that is widely used to help individuals with communication difficulties. It is a simple yet powerful method that relies on the use of pictures to convey messages. This system is particularly useful for children who have autism or other developmental disabilities.
What is PECS?
PECS was developed in the early 1980s by Andrew Bondy, Ph.D., and Lori Frost, M.S., CCC-SLP. The system is based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and is designed to teach children with communication difficulties how to initiate communication using pictures.
The system consists of six phases that are designed to teach the child how to initiate communication using pictures. In the first phase, the child is taught to exchange a picture for a desired item. In the second phase, the child is taught to use a picture to request a desired item. In the third phase, the child is taught to use a picture to indicate a desired item. In the fourth phase, the child is taught to use a picture to answer questions. In the fifth phase, the child is taught to use pictures to make comments. And in the sixth and final phase, the child is taught to use pictures to answer more complex questions.
Why is PECS Useful?
Flexibility is key
One of the main reasons why PECS is so effective is its flexibility. It can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the user, making it a highly personalized communication system. Whether you need to communicate basic needs or express complex thoughts and emotions, PECS can be adapted to suit your needs.
Improving communication skills
In addition to its flexibility, PECS has also been shown to significantly reduce frustration and improve communication skills in children with communication difficulties. By providing a visual means of communication, PECS allows individuals to express themselves more easily and effectively. This can lead to improved social interactions, increased confidence, and greater independence.
Overall, PECS is an incredibly valuable tool for anyone who struggles with communication. Its ease of use, flexibility, and effectiveness make it a top choice for parents, teachers, and therapists alike.
Who Can Benefit from PECS?
PECS - A Powerful Tool for Communication
PECS, or the Picture Exchange Communication System, is a powerful tool for individuals who struggle with communication. While it is most commonly used with children who have autism or other developmental disabilities, it can also be used with adults who have communication difficulties.
The beauty of PECS lies in its simplicity. It is based on the idea that everyone can and should be able to communicate their wants and needs.
The system uses pictures to represent words, phrases, and ideas, allowing individuals to communicate their desires and thoughts even if they struggle with expressive language, receptive language, or both.
In addition to its practical applications, PECS has also been shown to have a positive impact on social and emotional development. By giving individuals a way to communicate, we are helping them build confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of independence.
Overall, PECS is a valuable tool that can be used to empower individuals with communication difficulties, regardless of age or diagnosis.
How is PECS Implemented?
The SLP will work with the child and their family to determine which pictures will be used and how the system will be implemented. This is a collaborative process that takes into account the child's individual needs and abilities.
The pictures are chosen based on the child's interests and needs, and they are designed to be easily recognizable and meaningful to the child. Once the pictures have been selected, they are typically placed on a communication board or in a book that the child can easily access.
Learning to communicate
The child is then taught to use the pictures to communicate their wants and needs. With practice, the child can learn to use the system to express more complex ideas and engage in meaningful conversations with others.
PECS is a highly effective tool for children with communication disorders, and it has been shown to improve communication skills, social interaction, and overall quality of life. If you think your child could benefit from PECS, talk to a speech-language pathologist or other trained professional to learn more about this powerful communication tool.
Success Stories: PECS in Different Settings
PECS has been successfully implemented in a variety of settings, from schools to homes to therapy clinics. Here are just a few examples of how PECS has helped individuals with communication difficulties:
In schools, PECS has been used to help students with special needs communicate with their teachers and peers. By providing a visual means of communication, students are able to express themselves more effectively and participate more fully in classroom activities.
PECS can also be used at home to help children communicate with their families. For example, a child might use pictures to ask for a snack or indicate that they need a break from an activity. By using PECS at home, parents and caregivers can better understand the child's wants and needs, which can lead to fewer frustrations and more positive interactions.
PECS is often used in therapy clinics as a way to improve communication skills in children with developmental disabilities. By teaching children how to use pictures to communicate, therapists are helping them build confidence and independence while also reducing frustration.
These success stories illustrate the versatility of PECS and its ability to improve communication skills across different settings. Whether it's in the classroom, at home, or in therapy sessions, PECS has proven to be an effective tool for individuals with communication difficulties.
Creating and Organizing a Communication Book for PECS
Creating and organizing a communication book is an essential part of implementing the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). A communication book is a collection of pictures or symbols that represent words, phrases, and ideas that the individual might want to communicate.
When creating a communication book for PECS, it's important to choose pictures that are meaningful and relevant to the individual. It's best to choose pictures that represent items or activities that the individual frequently interacts with.
Once you have chosen your pictures, it's time to organize them in a way that makes sense for the individual. You might organize them by category (e.g., food, toys, activities), by location (e.g., home, school, park), or by any other system that works well for the individual.
Creating the Book
There are many different ways to create a communication book for PECS. Some individuals might prefer a physical binder with laminated pages where pictures can be attached using Velcro. Others may prefer digital versions on tablets or other devices.
Whatever format you choose, make sure it's easily accessible and portable so that the individual can use it whenever they need it.
Updating the Book
It's important to regularly update the communication book as the individual's needs and interests change. This ensures that they always have access to relevant pictures and can effectively communicate their wants and needs.
By following these tips for creating and organizing a communication book for PECS, you can help ensure successful implementation of this powerful tool for individuals with communication difficulties.
Using PECS Alongside Other Forms of Communication
While PECS is a powerful tool on its own, it can also be used alongside other forms of communication, such as sign language or speech therapy. By combining different communication methods, individuals with communication difficulties can improve their overall ability to communicate and express themselves.
Sign language is a visual language that uses hand gestures and facial expressions to convey meaning. It's often used by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but it can also be useful for individuals with developmental disabilities who have difficulty with spoken language.
By using both PECS and sign language together, individuals can have multiple ways to communicate their wants and needs. This can lead to increased independence and more positive social interactions.
Speech therapy is another form of communication intervention that can be used alongside PECS. Speech therapy focuses on improving speech production, language comprehension, and overall communication skills.
When used alongside PECS, speech therapy can help individuals learn how to use spoken words in conjunction with pictures to communicate more effectively. This combination of methods can lead to improved social interactions and greater independence in daily life.
Overall, using PECS alongside other forms of communication can provide individuals with a wider range of tools to express themselves and interact with others. Talk to a speech-language pathologist or other trained professional to learn more about how different communication methods can be combined for maximum effectiveness.
Tips for Troubleshooting Common Challenges in Using PECS
Implementing PECS can sometimes come with its own set of challenges. Here are a few tips for troubleshooting some common issues:
Over time, pictures may begin to fade or become less recognizable. This can be frustrating for the individual trying to communicate. To prevent picture fading, make sure to use high-quality images and laminate them to protect them from wear and tear.
If your pictures have already started to fade, consider replacing them with new ones or creating digital versions that can be easily updated.
Lack of Motivation
Sometimes individuals may lose motivation to use the system, particularly if they don't see immediate results. To combat this issue, try incorporating fun activities or games into the communication practice routine.
You might also try introducing new pictures that represent items or activities that the individual is highly motivated by. This can help reignite their interest in using the system.
Consistency is key when it comes to using PECS effectively. If the system is only used sporadically, it may not be as effective as it could be. To ensure consistent use, establish a regular routine for practicing communication skills.
Make sure that everyone who interacts with the individual knows how to use the system and encourages its use consistently.
By following these tips and troubleshooting common issues that arise when using PECS, you can help ensure that this powerful tool continues to improve communication skills and overall quality of life for individuals with communication difficulties.
How to Incorporate Technology into PECS
With the rise of technology, there are now many ways to incorporate digital tools into PECS. Using tablets or smartphones can provide a more portable and convenient way for individuals to access their communication systems.
Benefits of Digital PECS
Digital PECS have several advantages over traditional communication books. For one, they are often more engaging and interactive, which can help motivate individuals to use them more frequently. They also offer a wider range of customization options, allowing users to add new pictures or modify existing ones with ease.
In addition, digital PECS can be easily updated and shared across multiple devices, making them ideal for use in different settings such as school or therapy sessions.
Choosing the Right App
When choosing an app for digital PECS, it's important to consider factors such as ease of use, flexibility, and compatibility with different devices. Some popular apps include Proloquo2Go, Avaz Pro, and TouchChat HD.
It's also important to choose an app that is appropriate for the individual's needs and abilities. Some apps may be too complex or overwhelming for certain users, while others may not offer enough customization options.
Getting Started with Digital PECS
To get started with digital PECS, you'll need a tablet or smartphone with the chosen app installed. You'll also need to create a library of pictures that represent words, phrases, and ideas that the individual might want to communicate.
Once you have your library set up, you can begin teaching the individual how to use the app. This may involve demonstrating how to select pictures or how to navigate through different pages.
With practice and guidance from a speech-language pathologist or other trained professional, individuals can learn how to effectively use digital PECS alongside other forms of communication.
Overall, incorporating technology into PECS can provide many benefits for individuals with communication difficulties. By choosing the right app and providing adequate support and guidance, we can help individuals achieve greater independence and more effective communication.
In conclusion, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) has proven to be a powerful and effective tool for helping children and adults with communication difficulties. By using visual aids, PECS helps individuals better understand and express their needs, reducing frustration and opening up new opportunities for communication.
If you are interested in learning more about PECS, there are many resources available online. You can find information about how to implement the system, success stories from families and educators, and even training programs to become a certified PECS user.
Don't let communication difficulties hold you or your loved ones back. Consider exploring the benefits of PECS and see how it can help improve communication and enhance quality of life.
- The Pyramid Educational Consultants website (https://pecsusa.com/)
- The National Autism Center's website (https://www.nationalautismcenter.org/)
- The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's website (https://www.asha.org/)
- Autism Speaks' website (https://www.autismspeaks.org/)
- The PECS UK website (http://www.pecs-unitedkingdom.com/)