What Are PECS?

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PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System and is a very successful pictorial communication device which was created in America to help autistic children and adults gain a voice. It can be used to help any adults and children who have no language communication skills to communicate their desires to both familiar and unfamiliar people.

The symbols can be either the recommended ones from the system CD Rom, or can be photographs of actual items such as a specific toy or brand of crisps. As long as the child recognises the symbol, the system can work. The symbols are laminated and attached to Velcro, then kept in a special PECS book that has a sentence board in it. The PECS symbols should be available around the local environment also; in both school and at home.

The level of proficiency and detail varies from exchanging a single picture to creating a descriptive sentence. The system relies on continuity and consistency in approach. It has a six phase approach that starts from recognizing the cause and effect of exchanging a symbol, moving to reach for and then travel for the symbol, and eventually branching out to using the symbols in unfamiliar places.

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