Picture Exchange Communication System

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What to expect

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an alternative form of communication to speech, which uses pictures to help individuals communicate with others. Our speech and language therapists can train and support individuals, their carers and other professionals in using PECS.

>What is Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)?

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a type of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). PECS uses pictures to help individuals to communicate. PECS is designed for children with autistic spectrum disorder, who are non-verbal (unable to speak). PECS can also be used with individuals with learning difficulties.

PECS works on the basis of the individual (with the communication problem) exchanging a picture with a communication partner in order for them to communicate with them. For example, exchanging a picture of a banana for an actual banana. The theory behind PECS is to reinforce the communication of the individual with the communication problem.

PECS involves six different stages of training. In the initial stages of training the communication is kept very simple with the exchange of only one picture. Throughout the stages training will build on the individuals communication, using an increased amount of pictures and also pictures of more complex words e.g. verbs and abstract ideas of feelings and emotions.

The use of PECS can also help to encourage the use of spoken language once the individual begins to understand the use of communication.

Training in PECS can be given to the individual, parents / carers and other professionals so it can be effectively used in the home, school and social environments.

What conditions can Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) help with?

PECS can help with the following conditions which can cause an individual to have communication problems:

Babies and children with:

Adults with:

What are the benefits of a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)?

There are many benefits of using PECS. The main benefit of PECS is helping the individual to communicate more effectively with others. PECS has also been found to reduce undesirable behaviours and increase social interaction.

Benefits of PECS include:

Similar treatments / services that could help

Similar treatment options that can help individuals with communication difficulties include:

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All our speech and language therapists are registered with the RCSLT and the HCPC

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