PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. PECS is a great resource for teaching young children to communicate using pictures. It is designed to promote speech, language and communication development in children with autism. The idea of Pecs is that a child can use a picture to tell someone what they want. For example, if the child wants milk, then they would give the “milk” picture to their teacher or parent, and that person would know that the child wants milk.
PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. It is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system used by those who have trouble verbally communicating.
PECS involves a collection of pictures that the user can point to in order to communicate. The pictures are organized on a binder ring and can be given to a therapist, family member, or friend who will read them and respond accordingly.
For example, if the user has a PECS book with the following cards: “I’m hungry”, “I want apple juice”, “I want to go outside”, and “I want to play soccer,” the user can point to “I’m hungry” to communicate that they are hungry and their therapist/family member/friend will know what to do next.
The purpose of PECS is to give those who cannot speak or who have trouble speaking a means of communicating with others. The organization of the cards helps facilitate communication between users and those around them.
PECS is not just for children with autism, but also for those who have more than one disability, including orthopedic impairments, communication delays, developmental delays, and other neurological disorders. PECS can be used in the classroom, at home, or in the therapy clinic. It gives all learners access to communication by first teaching them how to ask for things they want (exchange). Then it teaches them how to comment (commenting) using photos that represent their ideas and thoughts. Then it teaches them how to answer questions about their environment (questioning) using photos that represent their ideas and thoughts. Finally, PECS teaches them how to use sentences (anaphora) using photos that represent their ideas and thoughts. This sequential approach allows students to succeed at their own pace, whether they are pre-verbal or verbally fluent.
PECS are used by speech language pathologists, teachers, and parents to teach children with a variety of different needs. PECS is a unique and powerful strategy that works because it is based on learning theory and the natural way we learn language.
PECS was designed initially to help young children, but it can be used with all age groups and abilities. PECS teaches functional communication, which means that the user learns to exchange a picture of a desired item for that item (you give me the picture of a cookie, I’ll give you a cookie). It has been shown that PECS can be used to teach initial communication skills as well as more advanced language and social skills. The first phase of PECS involves teaching the child to give a single picture to an adult in exchange for the object/activity on the picture. When this phase has been mastered, the child will learn how to build sentences using additional pictures that are placed one after another on a sentence strip.