What Is P.E.C.S.?

P.E.C.S. is a technique that I learned about while planning my lesson for the final part of my interview for a Special Education teaching position.


*Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) that is typically used as an aid for children with autism.

PECS is a great tool for helping non-verbal children (such as those with autism) communicate without words. PECS allows the child to make choices and communicate needs. When children can communicate and express their needs, often behaviors can be minimalzed and the child becomes much happier.

PECS can be used in several ways to aid communication. PECS are typically introduced using pictures of desired objects (such as food or toys). When the child wants one of these items, he gives the picture to a communication partner such as a parent, therapist, caregiver or another child. The communication partner then hands the child the food or toy, thus reinforcing communication. Ultimately, the pictures can be replaced with words and sentence strips (e.g. I want cookies).

Many people believe that PECS can also be used to create visual schedules for children. This is however factually incorrect. The term PECS does not refer to the individual pictures or icons. PECS is the exchange of the icon as a form of communication, not the picture itself. The same icons that are used for PECS are frequently used for creating visual schedules, but this is not PECS, it is simply using icons to create a visual schedule.

The introduction of PECS can be a long and drawn out process taking months to complete. For a family facing a lifetime with a non-verbal child who is not grasping sign language either, these can definitely be a relief for the lack of communication.

Here’s where you can find out more: http://www.pecs.com/WhatsPECS.htm

* Wikipedia definition


7 thoughts on “What Is P.E.C.S.?

  1. Hi:

    I am a mexican special education teacher and also, a high education teacher in special education, I am very interesting to know more about PECS, I work with it, but I would like to you tell me if you have some important events where you speak about this and also , I would like to invite you to know each other as an institution.

    Thanks, and I´ll be waiting for your answer

  2. Hello!
    I’m a teacher for handicapped children. One of them doesn’t talk. He has autism. He should learn to communicate and I think PECS could help him.
    Is it possible to get some pictures from this system to test it?
    It would be really nice!
    Hope for your help!
    Thanks for a million

  3. Caroline, I made them myself. To do it yourself you need access to a printer and a laminator. Google picture and make them roughly around the same size. Cut them out, then laminate them. I know you’re busy, but doing this will help make your job so much easier.
    Also, enlist the help of his AAA if he has one.

  4. I am a spech therapist in Holland and i want to juse Pecs with an autism blind child with objects.
    I don’t have anny experiance with blind children and PECS. Is at possible? and how can i use it?Can somebody help me please?
    Thanks Karin

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