What is PECS?
The Picture Exchange Communication System is a method used with children and adults who have the frustration of not being able to communicate with speech. It is known to be used with children and adults with Autism spectrum disorder, where communication and language is a difficulty. The PECS approach has 6 stages that the pupils work through. It begins with exchanging a picture or symbol for a motivating item. Pupils then move on to learning distance and persistence skills, symbol discrimination and sentence building. More importantly it teaches the power of communication. The aim of PECS is to encourage spontaneous communication with numerous partners so that our pupils can communicate their wants and needs.
What are the benefits?
Communication is a fundamental skill and PECS benefits our pupils as it gives them a voice and an opportunity to request and make their feelings known to adults around them. It gives them a functional skill that they have for life. PECS can be used with pupils who are pre-verbal and verbal and does not rely on speech. Symbols can be customised for the child whether they need big or small or need photos instead. A PECS book can hold many symbols so pupils can build up a vocabulary, it can also be transported around with the child so it can be accessed anywhere.
When our pupils are given the chance to communicate in a functional way it gives them a sense of achievement while developing their independent skills. Having a method of communication promotes well-being with our pupils as they know that their voice will be heard and they can make their needs known.