Nonverbal communication pictures
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a systematic way to teach a child how to communicate with someone else by handing them a picture of what they want. This program was originally designed for children with autism but can be used for other non-verbal children as well. This program is intended to provide an alternative means of communication for a child who is unable to speak.
A systematic review of the research in 2008 by Tien found that the Picture Exchange Communication System is effective in enhancing functional communication skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. That means that PECS allowed these children a means to communicate with others that they did not have before starting PECS. Even though they were not able to speak their message, they were still able to communicate functionally with the adults around them.
This review found no evidence that AAC intervention hinders speech production in children with autism or PDD-NOS and suggests that AAC may result in increased speech production. The authors note that the “observed gains in speech production may vary across individuals and, if they do occur, are typically small in magnitude”
As PECS is a type of augmentative and alternative communication, it falls under the term AAC.
In order to participate in the Picture Exchange Communication System, the adult who is working with the child must be trained in how to use PECS. The program involves very specific steps that must be taught in the correct order and in the correct manner.
This article will give you an overview of the PECS process, but if you are interested in doing this with a child, you should find a training near you:
1. How to Communicate:
In the first phase of PECS, the child will learn that if they hand an adult a picture, they will get what they want in return. For this phase, there is one adult in front of the child who is holding what the child wants, and another adult behind the child guiding the child’s hand and arm to help him pick up the picture and give it to the first adult. Like I said before, this is a very specific program with very specific instructions. Each adult in this situation has an important role and has instructions on what to do. For the first phase, the child only has one picture in front of him. He’s not choosing the picture he wants from a selection, he’s just practicing the idea of handing a picture and getting what he wants.