Picture Exchange Communication System

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed almost 20 years ago as a unique augmentative/alternative communication training package that allows children and adults with autism and other communication deficits to initiate communication. PECS begins with teaching a student to exchange a picture of a desired item with a teacher, who immediately honours the request. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency. The system goes on to teach discrimination of symbols and then puts them all together in simple "sentences." Children are also taught to comment and answer direct questions. Many preschoolers using PECS also begin developing speech.