Individuals who are nonverbal or have limited speech need a communication system now, today. If you work in special education or have a child with a diagnosis you’ve probably heard of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). It is well-known because it’s an evidence-based practice, and when implemented with fidelity, it works! PECS provides an immediately useful method for requesting things, actions and people, in a way that requires and promotes social interaction. Using the principles of applied behaviour analysis, PECS starts by teaching spontaneous requesting and as quickly as possible, moves on to responding to questions as well as commenting about things in the environment. An added attraction for preschool children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is the high proportion of children who acquire independent speech after the introduction of PECS. However, it’s never too late to start PECS; excellent progress has been made with people who were taught PECS as adults. It’s also important to note that while PECS was initially developed for young children with autism, it has been used successfully with a variety of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.
Pyramid consultants are available to provide classroom support related to PECS implementation based on your classroom and team’s specific needs. This support can range from monthly to yearly visits.