User:Teromakotero/Autism/Picture Exchange Communication System

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 Picture Exchange Communication System

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed in 1985 by psychologist Andy Bondy and speech therapist Lori Frost. PECS’s theoretical framework has been Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA is the science of controlling and predicting human behavior. PECS complies with normal language development, in which development of interaction precedes language and speech development. PECS is used to help children with autism and other special needs to communicate.

The aim of PECS was to accomplish several things:

  1. The child would initiate communication without a cue or model from the adult.
  2. The child would find a partner for communication and know how to approach that partner.
  3. The child would use a single image and avoid confusion about the intent of the message. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 70.)

With this communication method it was hoped to be able to avoid some potential problems (compare to PRT and Lovaas):

  1. The child would not be dependent on prompts received from adults (modeling).
  2. The child would not need to have learned to imitate actions or words before learning can begin.
  3. The child would not have to learn to make eye contact before the learning can begin.
  4. The child would not need to be able to sit quietly in a chair before the learning can begin.
  5. The child would learn quickly to communicate rather than matching pictures to objects. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 70.)

The Six Phases of Teaching PECS

First Phase: Initiating Communication

The first step in PECS is to teach the child to submit a request. When a child sees something that he wants, he pick up and exchange a picture that corresponds to the item he wants. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 74-75.)

Second Phase: Expanding the Use of Pictures

The aim of the second phase of Pecs is to increase the distance between the child and his communication partner, increase child's distance from the images used and increase the number of items, which the child may ask (Bondy & Frost 2002, 82). Child takes a picture of the communication folder, removes it, search for the communication partner's attention and gives a picture.

Third Phase: Choosing the Message within PECS

When a child has learned the essence of communication - to find someone with whom to communicate - he is ready to learn how to select specific messages. This requires learning to discriminate between images. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 83.) Child selects a picture from a number of pictures in the communication folder and takes it to the right person.

Fourth Phase: Introducing Sentence Structure within PECS

This phase will start with "I want" image, which is placed on the sentence strip. Child is guided to place the picture of what he wants, after the "I want" image. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 90.) At this stage the child constructs simple sentences with sentence strip.

Fifth Phase: Teaching Answering Simple Questions

At this stage of training, the child has not yet heard the question: "What do you want?" Learning to answer this question is the next step. (Bondy & Frost 2002, 103.) At this stage the child learns to respond to question addressed to him.

Sixth Phase: Teaching Commenting

When a child has learned to answer the question: "What do you want?", we are ready to teach him to respond to other simple questions like "What do you see? What do you hear? What do you have?” (Bondy & Frost 2002, 104). At this stage the child learns to ask and comment meaningfully.