Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Presented by: Jill M. Waegenaere, M.A., CCC/SLP. Based on the PECS program developed by Lori Frost, M.S., CCC/SLP and Andy Bondy, Ph.D.

Many young children with communication difficulties need another way to talk to their family, peers and caregivers.  There are a variety of options to consider. However, one of the first tasks is to help them understand that they need the assistance of others to get their wants and needs met.  Whether your child needs a high tech communication device (electronic such as an iPad) or just a simple system of communication (pictures), the PECS program is a great way to begin.

PECS begins by helping your child learn the necessity of exchanging a picture for something they want.  This is done through the use of objects they really enjoy having or activities they really enjoy doing and their picture representations.(120)  The exchange of the pictures is supported by a 2-person interaction 1) the receiver and 2) the giver (who assists the child in exchanging the picture for their desired object/activity).  Once the child has given the picture, the desired object or activity is given to them to enjoy.

The exchange of pictures expands to help the child create and exchange single pictures, picture phrases, and eventually to select pictures from a group of communication choices to make complete sentences. Families can sometimes see exciting changes with their children.  They may begin to verbalize to aid in their communication. This communication system can be a great preliminary step to other communications systems such as PODD, ProLoQuo2Go (App for iPads) and Words for LIfe just to name a few.

Attended and Blog Written by Lisa Morris, MS, CCC-SLP/L