Individuals who are nonverbal or have limited speech need a communication system they can start using now. If you work in special education or have a child with a diagnosis, you’ve probably heard of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). It’s well-known because it’s an evidence-based practice and when implemented correctly, it works! PECS provides an immediately useful method for requesting items, actions and people, in a way that requires and promotes social interaction. Using the principles of applied behavior analysis, it starts by teaching spontaneous requesting and as quickly as possible, moves on to responding to questions and commenting about things in the environment.
For those working with preschool-age learners with ASD, an added attraction to choosing this method is the high proportion of children who acquire independent speech after the introduction of PECS. It’s never too late, however, to start PECS. While it was initially developed for young children with autism, people of all ages, even those who were taught PECS as adults, have made excellent progress and it’s been used successfully with a wide variety of diagnoses.
Pyramid consultants are available to provide in-home support related to PECS implementation based on your learner’s needs. This support can range from monthly to yearly visits.