PECS is an acronym for Picture Exchange Communication System
; a program that the child uses to express his/her wants and needs using pictures and includes six phases in which they learn the exchanging principle and developing knowledge of sentence structure.
In PECS, the child uses a specific communication book that contains pictures of his/her wants and needs, throughout the phases, the child learns how to choose a specific picture from his/her book and make a sentence on a detachable sentence strip.
You might have the concern when using PECS; that your child will not use speech because he/she has an alternative communication method. However, recent studies
showed that PECS enhances speech due to the knowledge of sentence structure which the child learned during the PECS phases and verbalizing each item he/she gets by the communication partner.
When the child wants or needs something he/she goes to PECS to initiate communication with an adult. Then, the adult will provide the child with the reinforcer or the desired item. This can hopefully be generalized in other settings such as by using PECS to buy something they want at the shop.
How to use PECS at home?
- Follow up with the speech therapist to know what phase your child is on
- Make sure you have all the items related to the pictures in his/her communication book
- Make sure your child has his / her communication book at all the times (even outdoors)
- When the child gives you a picture of an item, label it and then provide your child with the desired item
If you have questions or concerns about whether PECS is appropriate for your child, please speak with a speech and language pathologist
who should be able to provide a suitable intervention or customized program.