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PECS Speech Therapy

Convenient & Effective Speech Therapy

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What is PECS speech therapy?

PECS, which stands for the Picture Exchange Communication System, is not a form of speech therapy but rather an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system designed to assist individuals with communication challenges, including those who have limited or no speech abilities.

PECS is often used as a supportive tool alongside speech therapy to help individuals with communication disorders or delays. PECS is based on the use of pictures or symbols to facilitate communication. Instead of using spoken words, individuals using PECS communicate by selecting and exchanging picture cards to convey their wants, needs, and thoughts.

PECS Speech Therapy


How can a speech therapist implement PECS?

A speech therapist can implement the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) as part of their therapy approach to help individuals with communication challenges. Here are the steps and considerations for a speech therapist when implementing PECS:

  • Assessment and Evaluation: The therapist begins by conducting a comprehensive assessment to understand the individual's communication abilities, needs, and challenges. This assessment helps determine if PECS is an appropriate communication system for the individual.

  • Setting Goals: Collaborate with the individual, their family, and any other relevant professionals to set clear communication goals. These goals should be tailored to the individual's specific needs and may include objectives related to requesting, answering questions, commenting, or initiating social interactions.

  • Training and Education: The therapist should receive training in PECS and become proficient in its implementation. Familiarity with the structured phases of PECS is essential for effective therapy.

  • Assistive Technology: Ensure access to the necessary assistive technology or materials for creating PECS communication boards or books. PECS often involves laminated picture cards that can be attached with Velcro to a communication book or board.


What are some issues with PECS speech therapy?

While the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) can be highly effective for many individuals with communication challenges, there can be various issues or challenges associated with its implementation. These issues may arise due to individual differences, the complexity of the communication disorder, or other factors. Here are some common issues or challenges that may be encountered in PECS speech therapy:

  • Limited Initial Communication: In the early phases of PECS, individuals may only learn to request items or actions using picture cards. This limited form of communication may not address more complex communication needs, such as expressing emotions, sharing information, or engaging in extended conversations.

  • Slow Progress: Some individuals may progress more slowly through the phases of PECS than others. It can take time for individuals to become comfortable with the system and learn to use it effectively.

  • Resistance to PECS: Not all individuals readily accept or engage with PECS. Some may be resistant to using picture cards as a means of communication, particularly if they have a strong desire to use spoken language.


How can parents/caregivers use PECS?

Communication System (PECS) to support individuals with communication challenges. PECS can be a valuable tool for individuals who have difficulty with spoken language or need alternative means of communication. Here are steps and tips for parents and caregivers to effectively use PECS:

  • Learn About PECS: Familiarize yourself with the PECS system. There are books, online resources, and workshops available that provide training and guidance on how to implement PECS effectively.

  • Collaborate with Professionals: Work closely with speech-language pathologists (SLPs) or communication therapists who have expertise in PECS. They can provide guidance, assess the individual's communication needs, and help develop a personalized PECS plan.

  • Create a PECS Book: Together with the therapist, create a PECS book or communication system that includes a range of picture cards representing items, actions, or concepts that are relevant to the individual's daily life and communication needs.



What are some PECS learning techniques in speech therapy?

In speech therapy, implementing the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) involves specific learning techniques and strategies to support individuals with communication challenges. These techniques are designed to help individuals learn and use PECS effectively. Here are some PECS learning techniques used in speech therapy:

  • Structured Phases: PECS is typically introduced in a series of structured phases, each building upon the previous one. The therapist and caregivers should follow these phases, including initiation, distance, discrimination, sentence structure, and communication expansion, to facilitate gradual skill development.

  • Visual Modeling: Visual modeling involves demonstrating how to use PECS by selecting a picture card and exchanging it for a desired item or action. This helps individuals learn the steps involved in using PECS effectively.

  • Physical Assistance: Initially, individuals may need physical prompts or assistance to select and exchange picture cards. Gradually reduce the level of physical assistance as the individual becomes more proficient.

  • Communication Temptations: Create situations or "communication temptations" that encourage the individual to use PECS to make requests or communicate their needs. For example, place desired items out of reach to prompt the use of PECS for requesting.

  • Visual Schedules: Visual schedules or daily routines can help individuals anticipate and understand the sequence of events in their day. Using picture cards to represent activities or tasks can make routines more predictable and manageable.

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