Picture Exchange Communication System

Picture Exchange Communication System

PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System.

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a method of communication. It’s used for children with autism that does not rely on speech. People use cards containing images, symbols, text, or photographs to make requests or remarks and to respond to queries.

Where is started

Andy Bondy and Lori Frost started it in the USA in 1985. They wanted to help children with autism express their feelings and needs. This system uses visual symbols to teach the learner to communicate with parents, teachers and peers. Itsn’t used to communicate using pictures for people with limited or no communication skills.  People with Autism Spectrum Disorders or other speech problems can benefit greatly from this tool. The Picture Exchange Communication System is accessible to all people with autism. There is no age limit, however the majority of study has been conducted on youngsters. Some youngsters may utilise PECS for a brief period of time as their speech develops. Others may utilise it for a longer period of time.

Things to consider

When implementing the picture exchange communication system, there are the number of things to be consider. The trainer can use colourful graphic images, pictures cut out from magazines, actual photos or even drawings. When a picture is simple and accurate, you can use it.  It is not just giving a child a photo and hoping him/her to communicate with it right away. Just like other rehabilitation techniques for children with the autism, it has a set of steps. These steps are required to make it effective. There are six phases that must be observe and follow:

Phase 1: How to communicate

Firstly, the trainer must determine what drives the child’s motivation. Any toy, ball, or food that child is most interested in can be used. Individuals learn to exchange single pictures for items or activities they really want.

Phase 2: Distance and persistence

Secondly, the autistic child must use it in different places, with different people across distance. Trainer moves further away from child so that he/she must come over and hand over card. This improves the child’s ability to get attention. Trainers need to be more persistent communicators as well.

Phase 3: Discrimination in Pictures

Thirdly, when introducing the picture cards, the trainer introduces more than one at a time. This will help the child learn how to differentiate between asking for something. The difficulty level increases in this phase. Child may find it easy or difficult

Phase 4: Sentence structure

Fourthly, it is time to train him/her in building sentences with the use of sentence strips. Using a sentence strip with an “I want” picture and a picture of the item being requested.

Phase 5: Answering questions

Then, the child with autism learns to use PECS to answer the question, “What do you want?”

Phase 6: Commenting 

Finally, Individuals are taught to comment in response to questions such as, “What do you see?”, “What do you hear?” and “What is it?” They learn to make up sentences. These starting with “I see a car”, “I hear a sound”, “I feel”, “It is a”, etc

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