The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed in 1985 by Andrew S. Bondy, Ph.D. & Lori Frost, M.S., CCC/SLP, as a augmentative/ alternative training package that teaches children and adults with autism and other communication deficits to initiate communication. It was first used at the Delaware Autistic Program, PECS and then became well-known for focusing on the initiation component of communication. PECS does not require complex or expensive materials, and is readily used in a variety of settings. It was created with educators, resident care providers and families in mind.
PECS begins with teaching a student to exchange a picture of a desired item with a “teacher”, who immediately honors the request. The training protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior so that functional verbal operants are systematically taught using prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency. The system goes on to teach discrimination of symbols and then how to put them all together in simple sentences. In the most advanced Phases, individuals are taught to comment and answer direct questions. Many preschoolers using PECS also begin developing speech.
The system has also been successful with adolescents and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive and physical difficulties.
For more information go to http://www.pecs.com/