Strategies & Interventions – PECS
PECS is a unique alternative/augmentative communication system developed in the USA in 1985 by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP. PECS was first implemented with pre-school students diagnosed with autism at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then, PECS has successfully been implemented worldwide with thousands of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.
The PECS teaching protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior, and broad spectrum applied behaviour analysis. Specific prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication are used throughout the protocol. The protocol also includes systematic error correction procedures to promote learning if an error occurs. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency.
Children that struggle with understanding symbols and pictures may be able to develop the skills of communication through exchanging an object. The object needs to be motivating and can be something used to complete a task. The object will be put into a see through tub, the lid will be closed tightly by the adult. When the child picks up the tub they will be encouraged to pass it to the adult, who will encourage them to tap it to initiate ‘open’. The adult will respond to this initiation by opening the tub and giving the child the object. Nursery will work on extending this distance between them and the child.