Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Has anyone else done this?

Information on PECS (picture exchange communication system)

"The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an augmentative communication system developed to help individuals quickly acquire a functional means of communication (Bondy and Frost, 1994). PECS is appropriate for individuals who do not use speech or who may speak with limited effectiveness: those who have articulation or motor planning difficulties, limited communicative partners, lack of initiative in communication, etc."

My good friend Audrey, is employed at a school that utilizes this system. She is very enthusiastic about it and gave me a bunch of resources for me to learn about this program. Audrey mostly works with autistic children and PECS seems to be helpful in her experience. The last time our ST came out she introduced us to this as well. There hasn't been enough studies to show if this encourages or inhibits verbal communication, but for those that are verbally delayed, any alternative method to communicate has to be good. I can't even imagine how frustrating it is not to be able to communicate my needs and wants.

Basically, you have this board with Velcro and you stick pictures of people or things or ideas (like "want") and the child will come over to the board, grab a picture to exchange it for the real thing. The transfer has to be immediate, almost overlapping, to ensure that the association is strong. Sarah (Penny's ST and Marni (her sped) were both very impressed at how quickly Penny got the idea of this method. . . and her strength to rip that picture off the Velcro. That was pretty tough. And Penelope didn't even tire of these exercises for a good 30 minutes. I think that the B23 office is making her a board of her own. Hopefully, we will have the time and energy to be consistent with this sort of thing. As of now, Penny knows to walk over to our pantry cabinet, stand at the door, point and wine until she gets a snack. How cool would it be if she exchanged a picture for her graham cracker?

If anyone Else has any experience with PECS I would be interested to hear about it. Thank you.


Lacey said...

I've never heard about it but it sounds like a great idea.

jess said...

I know other parents who have used this system and it worked. Joey did care too much for it. Probably partly because I didn't have the patience at the time to stick to it all the time. It's a system that you really have to use with her all the time if you want it to work. For me, having Leah and Joey it was impossible plus Joey does so well with signing, I didn't see the need to have 2 communication systems going at once.

Cammie Heflin said...

I use PECS all the time with students, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, I'd be happy to help!