Easy Guide on Using PECS at Home and in the Classroom

Easy Guide on Using PECS at Home and in the Classroom

2022-12-15T04:51:48+00:00September 3rd, 2022|

Have you ever felt frustrated talking to someone and can’t seem to understand each other? If you did, this is exactly how children with speech and language difficulties feel. Children with these challenges often have difficulty expressing what’s in their minds and worse, they can’t even express their needs/wants effectively. This is why making use of pictures to aide expressive language skills is effective. Picture paints a thousand words and is easier to understand especially for kids. 

If you are wondering how pictures are used, there is a system called PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). Below is a simple guide on how to implement PECS in your classroom or at home. 

To explain further, PECS is a type of alternative augmentative communication tool created by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy (Kyselova & Chernishova, 2020), to support young children with autism and speech impairments, in developing functional communication abilities (Preston & Carter, 2009). Children who use PECS first learn to approach a communicative partner (CP) and exchange a picture of a desired object for that physical item. In this way, they initiate an intentional communication towards a positive social outcome. They learn to communicate with single picture at first, then combine pictures to develop grammatical structures, semantic connections, and communicative functions. 

Getting Ready for PECS

  • Plan your training area in classroom.
  • Conduct a reinforcer assessment (refer to table below) to establish a reinforcer hierarchy of your student’s preferences (reinforcers) which can be a toy or food.
  • Prepare the materials listed below. Take pictures of the student’s reinforcers or source the images from the internet.          

Phase 1: “How” to Communicate

The child learns to make request by exchanging picture for the reinforcer.

You may slowly fade the prompts from holding the hand to tapping the elbow to reach for the picture.

Teacher / Communication Partner

  • Arrange the training environment with one picture of the reinforcer at each time
  • No verbal prompting
  • Entice the student with the reinforcer
  • Once the student releases the picture onto your hand, give the reinforcer to him/her immediately and praise him/her simultaneously
  • Returns the picture when the student has the reinforcer

Prompter

  • Wait for the student to reach out his/her hand to take the reinforcer
  • Physically prompt the student to pick up the picture, reach to the teacher and release the picture onto the teacher’s hand
  • Fade prompts as quickly as possible
  • No social interaction with the student

Phase 2: Distance and Persistence

The student goes to his/her communication book, pulls the picture off, goes to the communication partner, gets the teacher’s attention, and releases the picture onto the communication partner’s hand.

For this space, there is already a significant distance from the communication partner.
Give initial prompting to the child (pointing to the communication partner) until the child is more independent.

Prompter

  • Waits for the student’s initiation
  • Prompts student to remove the picture from the communication book if required
  • Physically guides the student to teacher if required
  • Physically guides the student to communication book if required
  • No social interaction with the student

Teacher / Communication Partner

  • Prepare a communication book for the student
  • Arrange the training environment with one picture of the reinforcer at each time
  • Entice the student with the reinforcer
  • Gradually increase the distance between teacher and student
  • Gradually increase the distance between student and communication book
  • Reinforce immediately 
  • Gradually eliminates prompts of body orientation and eye contact
  • No verbal prompting

Phase 3: Picture Discrimination

The student requests his/her reinforcer by going to his/her communication book, picking the picture from the list of pictures in the book, going to the teacher, and giving the picture.

Teacher / Communication Partner

  • Arrange the training environment from giving 2 pictures (one reinforcer and one non-reinforcer) in communication book to gradually multiple pictures of different reinforcers
  • Entice the student with the corresponding pictures of reinforcers
  • Reinforce with the requested reinforcer immediately 
  • Carry out correspondence checks to ensure the student chooses the picture correctly
  • No need for speech yet

Phase 4: Building Sentence Structure

Teacher / Communication Partner

  • Entice the student with the reinforcer
  • Physically guide student to begin with “I want” picture on Sentence Strip
  • Physically guide student to put the corresponding reinforcer picture on the strip and exchange the strip
  • Verbally praise the student and read the sentence on the strip
  • Deliberately pause to read the requested reinforcer and label it together while giving the child the requested reinforcer
  • Reinforces with the requested reinforcer immediately

Phase 5: Responsive Requesting 

The student readily responds to the question “What do you want?” with requests for a number of reinforcers.

Teacher (CP)

  • Entice the student with the reinforcer
  • Ask “What do you want?”
  • Physically guide student to pick up “I want” picture then the corresponding reinforcer picture to complete the exchange if required
  • Gradually increase the time interval between asking “What do you want?” and pointing to the “I want” card
  • Reinforce with the requested reinforcer immediately
  • Create opportunities for spontaneously requesting and answering 

Phase 6: Commenting

The child is taught to respond to questions such as “What do you see?” “What do you have?” “What do you hear?” and “What is it?” as well as make requests readily.

Teacher / Communication Partner

  • Continue to create opportunities for spontaneous requesting in classroom
  • Introduce commenting picture “I see”, “I hear”, “It is”, etc on the communication book
  • Reinforce each communication act appropriately
    • Tangible reinforcement for a request
    • Social reinforcement for a comment

(Angermeier, Schlosser, Luiselli, Harrington, & Carter, 2008; Charlop-Christy, Carpenter, Loc, LeBlanc, & Kellet, 2002; Flippin, Reszka, & Watson, 2010; Stephanie L. Hart & Banda, 2009; Stephanie L Hart & Banda, 2010; Lamb, Miller, Lamb, Akmal, & Hsiao, 2018)

References

Angermeier, K., Schlosser, R. W., Luiselli, J. K., Harrington, C., & Carter, B. (2008). Effects of iconicity on requesting with the Picture Exchange Communication System in children with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2(3), 430-446. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2007.09.004

Charlop-Christy, M. H., Carpenter, M., Loc, L., LeBlanc, L. A., & Kellet, K. (2002). USING THE PICTURE EXCHANGE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (PECS) WITH CHILDREN WITH AUTISM: ASSESSMENT OF PECS ACQUISITION, SPEECH, SOCIAL-COMMUNICATIVE BEHAVIOR, AND PROBLEM BEHAVIOR. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(3), 213. doi:10.1901/jaba.2002.35-213

Flippin, M., Reszka, S., & Watson, L. R. (2010). Effectiveness of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) on communication and speech for children with autism spectrum disorders: A meta-analysis. 

Hart, S. L., & Banda, D. R. (2009). Picture Exchange Communication System With Individuals With Developmental Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of Single Subject Studies. Remedial and Special Education, 31(6), 476-488. doi:10.1177/0741932509338354

Hart, S. L., & Banda, D. R. (2010). Picture Exchange Communication System with individuals with developmental disabilities: A meta-analysis of single subject studies. Remedial and Special Education, 31(6), 476-488. 

Kyselova, A., & Chernishova, E. (2020). Effectiveness of using pecs among children diagnosed with ASD who have problems with communication. Збірник наукових праць ΛΌГOΣ, 43-48. 

Lamb, R., Miller, D., Lamb, R., Akmal, T., & Hsiao, Y. J. (2018). Examination of the role of training and fidelity of implementation in the use of assistive communications for children with autism spectrum disorder: a meta‐analysis of the Picture Exchange Communication System. British Journal of Special Education, 45(4), 454-472. 

Preston, D., & Carter, M. (2009). A review of the efficacy of the picture exchange communication system intervention. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(10), 1471-1486. 



Contact Us

Bridging the Gap @ City Square Mall

180 Kitchener Road #08-06 City Square Mall Singapore 208539

 (65) 6909 2170

 sharewithus@bridgingthegap.com.sg

Bridging the Gap @ Buona Vista

The Rochester Mall, 35 Rochester Drive, #03-26, Singapore 138639

 (65) 6909 2170

 sharewithus@bridgingthegap.com.sg

Contact Us

Bridging the Gap @ Buona Vista

The Rochester Mall, 35 Rochester Drive, #03-26, Singapore 138639

 (65) 6909 2170

 sharewithus@bridgingthegap.com.sg


Bridging the Gap @ City Square Mall

180 Kitchener Road #08-06 City Square Mall Singapore 208539

 (65) 6909 2170

 sharewithus@bridgingthegap.com.sg



Free $200 Worth of Educational Assessment

*Terms and Conditions Apply

Contact us now