PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System

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  • ESC Region 13
  • 13 CPE Credits
  • $130

Workshop Overview

PECS is a unique augmentative/alternative communication intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities. PECS does not require complex or expensive materials. It was created with families, educators, and resident care providers in mind so are readily used in a range of settings.

PECS begins by teaching an individual to give a picture of a desired item to a “communicative partner", who immediately honors the exchange as a request. The system goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences. In the more advanced phases, individuals are taught to answer questions and to comment.

The PECS teaching protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior, such that functional verbal operants are systematically taught using prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependence.

PECS has been successful with individuals of all ages demonstrating a variety of communicative, cognitive, and physical difficulties. Some learners using PECS also develop speech. Others may transition to a voice output system. The body of research supporting the effectiveness of PECS continues to expand, with research from countries around the world.

What You Will Learn:

  • List the six phases of Picture Exchange Communication System.
  • Recall the relationship between PECS and traditional communication training approaches.
  • Perform intervention strategies in the six phases of PECS.
  • Identify the criteria for transitioning from PECS to other communication modalities.