What is Autism PECS? PECS is short for Picture Exchange Communication System.
This system, while different from ABA, is intensive at times. In the beginning, you will need two people to help with this program. You will need someone to work in front of the Autistic individual and another one behind him.
The basic principle behind the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is to teach to non-verbal ASD individuals to communicate with the exchange of a picture for an item that they desire at the time. Thus having items available that the Autistic child or adult tend to desire on a regular basis are ideal. Food items can be excellent to start with such as: a favorite snack, popcorn, etc. When you will be able to exchange the item for the picture, it has to be done quickly and thus having the items ready ahead of time is important. You can choose a favorite toy but the problem lies in that when you exchange the toy for the picture, it could be very difficult to get the toy back without the child becoming distressed.
In the beginning of the program, repetition is vital thus having numerous items available for each selected item is important.
As time goes by, more items may be introduced as the Autistic person accepts the system more easily.
You can find a great book on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) entitled: “A Picture’s Worth” by clicking on
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) can be a very effective form of Autism therapy. The key, as it is in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), is intensive work. This system is not as effective if you do not implement it on a regular basis as an Autistic child or adult will not see a patterned structure to getting the item they want at the time.
The way an Autistic person is thinking is if he takes the person by the hand to get a snack and you give it to him then why should he give you a picture for it, at another time? The routine of giving the picture every time for the snack will become a pattern that he can count on, each time.