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Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

What is picture exchange communication system?

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a functional communication system which allows children with ASD to express themselves in an alternative way through pictures. PECS are used as an intervention for children with ASD who either have no expressive language or have very limited expressive language. Personally, I had experiences with PECS very young. I recall from my parents that I used to point at pictures through a binder to communicate. Eventually, I would create sentences by placing pictures on top of my binder with Velcro tape on it. PECS can be beneficial as an intervention for growing communication skills.

Here is advice about using PECS for an individual with ASD:

  1. Implement pictures that are very common and functional to use in life for an individual with ASD.

  2. Always reinforce when an individual with ASD expresses through pictures. Reinforcement should be used together with PECS as an intervention.

  3. Arrange the environment for many opportunities of learning with PECS in structured and unstructured environments.

Now that we understand about PECS, here are pros and cons of teaching communication to individuals with ASD using PECS: use Picture Exchange



Less expensive approach to teach language

Requires a lot of attention from an individual with ASD to learn

No special training is needed because pictures are used with labeled words

Communication is limited to pictures with labeled words

Helps increase social communication and interactions in the environment

Would you use Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to teach an individual with ASD to communicate? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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