PECS - What is it and how will it help my child with autism?

Your Speech Therapist may suggest that you start using PECS with your child with autism. Some therapists will use pictures to communicate with your child, but this does not mean that they are using the picture exchange communication system.

The picture exchange communication system has a strict protocol for how you teach your child with autism to use pictures to communicate. For this reason it is really important that you choose an autism therapist who has been trained to use this very specific system.

Your child will learn how to use pictures to let other people know what they need, want and to share information about their world. It has 6 specific levels that your child will need to work through. The most basic level is about getting their needs met ie requesting but level 6 involves commenting on what is happening around them. The picture exchange communication system uses a behavioural approach and rewards the child for communicating.

For children who don't speak

If your child does not speak, the picture exchange communication system can give them an effective communication system. It will allow them to ask for what they need or want, approach people and start communication and eventually share information about the world.

Using a visual communication system like this one will not prevent your child from learning to speak but will teach them to communicate which can lead to speech. Even if your child never learns to speak, they will have an effective way to communicate with others in their world.

For children who do speak

For these children the picture exchange communication system can teach them the social part of communicating. They are taught how to start a conversation and keep it going.


To return from PECS to Speech Therapy click here