Here at Broadmeadow we believe that communication holds an important key to all learning and underpins life itself, both in a functional and enjoyable way. The development of skills within this area is fundamental to the all-round development of pupils with learning difficulties. The ability to spontaneously interact with others in order to access a particular outcome is a skill that many of us take for granted. But the inability to do this is perhaps the most significant obstacle to independent living for those with disabilities.
Picture Exchange Communication System is a method to develop intentional communication using motivating items. Children are taught to use symbols to select items and eventually form sentences to request, discuss, comment on items with others.
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed in 1985 by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost within the Delaware Autistic Program. PECS originally was developed for use with preschool-aged children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and other social communicative disorders who display no functional or socially effective speech. It is now recognised as being an effective communication method for people across a range of ages and with a wide range of difficulties in using speech.
For those children at Broadmeadow that are assessed as being appropriate candidates for using PECS, it is taught intensively through a structured program and integrated functionally and fully into their curriculum. We have two Certified PECS Implementers on our staff – Alison Egerton (Communication Co-ordinator) and Deena Whitehouse (Higher Level Teaching Assistant).
“PECS has made a big difference to my son’s life and our family life. He is so much calmer now that he can request his wants and we have very few outbursts, and less repetitive behaviour. When he is less anxious so are the people who care for him. As a family we can now do more and give him access to more experiences, so PECS has opened his world. It has widened his vocabulary and often asks without PECS book. He has learnt that he needs the people around him and this has improved his communication, interaction, speech and eye contact as well as his behaviour – GO PECS!”
“Our child can now let us know what he wants using PECS. There were times when he got frustrated trying to let us know what he wanted, PECS has helped a lot.”
“My child has always been pre-verbal but recently with PECS I have seen a huge difference. Rather than asking for what he wants in one word, he has started to string a lot more sentences together and I’m hoping to have a conversation with him soon! It’s important so that now he can say what he wants with PECS and soon hoping he will say how he feels. Great communication method, PECS is the key to unlock my child’s voice.”
“PECS has really helped with my daughter since she has been using PECS it’s easier to know what she wants as she will bring the picture to you. I also feel it is helping with her speech, as she is saying more words. The PECS training for family members was very useful, as we can try and do similar things to what she is learning at school. I am very grateful to have been introduced to PECS.”
“Major, major miracles with PECS; Improvement with pointing, dexterity, eye contact, initiating conversation. Zero head banging now. Zero throwing himself to the floor now. Zero biting himself. The transformation has been miraculous. My child seeks out conversation now, he mimics better also. He knows that he can vary the sound of his voice and allows time for us to respond. He will use PECS with everyone in the family, even distant relatives. Life is far better, calmer. There is less anxiety for my son and the family. It’s the most successful, results driven intervention we have done.”