What is this service?
PECS is a unique alternative/augmentative communication system developed in the USA in 1985 by
Andy Bondy, Ph.D. and Lori Frost, M.S. CCC/SLP. PECS was first implemented with pre‐school students diagnosed with Autism at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then PECS has been implemented worldwide with a variety of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.
The UK home of PECS was opened in 1998 to support developments in the UK, Ireland and beyond. We provide high quality training, consultation and support to families and professionals to improve the skills and lives of people with communication difficulties. As the only official training provider of PECS we train and help thousands of people every year.
The PECS teaching protocol is evidence based practice. Research Autism rates PECS as having “strong positive evidence” Their website states “There is a significant amount of research evidence to suggest that PECS is generally positive, with considerable anecdotal evidence from parents and professionals regarding the effectiveness of PECS. It is a straightforward and positive approach, cost effective and not overly time consuming to implement. There is, however, much confusion regarding the correct use of PECS and it should only be implemented by appropriately trained individuals.” http://researchautism.net/autism-interventions/our-evaluations-interventions/36/picture-exchange-communication-system-and-autism
PECS is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behaviour (1957), and broad spectrum applied behaviour analysis. Specific prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication are used throughout the protocol. The protocol also includes systematic error correction procedures to promote learning if an error occurs. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency.
PECS consist of six phases. It begins by teaching an individual to give a single picture of a desired item to a “communicative partner”, who immediately honours the exchange as a request. The system goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences. In the more advanced phases, individuals are taught to use modifiers, answer questions and comment.
We are based in Brighton, however we serve the whole of the UK and Ireland. We run approximately 95 PECS workshops per year, plus we also offer training in behaviour management, sexual and social safety for those with additional needs plus the highly acclaimed ‘Language of Emotions’ and more.
Here is what some parents and teachers had to say about PECS when asked how PECS has improved the lives of their child/students.
“I started teaching children with Autism before I knew about PECS. I was always frustrated that I couldn’t reach some of the students, that they had no way of telling me what they wanted or what was on their mind. They led me with their hands or became frustrated when I didn’t know what they were thinking. I felt inadequate as a teacher. PECS transformed this. The children became resourceful communicators, not only expressing their needs but making choices and telling us about events from outside of school, deepening relationships. PECS has not only enhanced learning in English lessons and increased verbal skills, but has also improved reading and writing throughout the school day and the entire curriculum. All 15 staff are PECS trained and because of this there has been a revolution in communication by our children on the Autism Spectrum.” Teacher at a primary school in Bath.
"As a parent, learning your child doesn’t have the ability to speak, for whatever reason, is heartbreaking. Seeing them struggle day in and day out to communicate their very basic needs causes every maternal bone in your body to ache. At three, when my son’s speech wasn’t developing, I knew I needed to find a way to help.
From a parental point of view, PECS gave me a sense of focus. A clear idea of how I could help my son. For him, it’s given so much more. PECs has allowed him to find his voice, to communicate his desires, his needs, his feelings and to break down the barrier that was stopping him from playing with his family and making friends. PECS has played a large part in bringing his voice to the fore.” Parent of child with ASD, Salisbury
Who is it for?
Any one with communication difficulties, and does not have an effective means of communication, ASD etc.
Outcomes for service users
To be able to implement the 6 phases of PECS effectively, to achieve an effective means of communication with a non verbal individual.
We can provide PECS Consultany home support. We also run a number of other workshops covering topics form Challenging Behaviour to Social, Sexual Safety