5 reasons to consider using PECS®


The Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) is a unique Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system that has been successfully implemented worldwide with learners of all ages.

Given the huge variety in AAC and all the complicated jargon you’ll find when researching them, it can get confusing - especially when you may not know what features to look out for! Is PECS the right AAC for your learner - below are 5 reasons that it could be.

1. PECS is an evidence-based practice

In 2014, The National Professional Development Centre on ASD adopted PECS as one of its 27 evidence-based practices, due to over 150 published articles and peer-reviewed research papers providing evidence for the positive outcomes and effectiveness of PECS when implemented correctly.

2. PECS teaches students to initiate communication, which is important in supporting independence

Unlike some other picture-board focused AACs, PECS requires an exchange of symbols, instead of an individual just pointing to a picture. Whilst this may not sound like a big difference, it’s crucial to the development of functional communication skills, as a PECS user must initiate the communication themselves Functional communication skills are vital to growing and supporting an individual’s independence.

3. PECS is suitable for all age groups across a wide range of disorders and needs

PECS isn’t just for individuals with ASD - in fact, it’s been successfully implemented across a huge range of disorders and syndromes that can make communication difficult. PECS isn’t just for young children either, it is also used to aid the communication of older people who have suffered a stroke or had a traumatic brain injury.

4. PECS is easily understood in the community and by peers

Learning an AAC like sign language is like learning French or Mandarin- it’s a complex language with different grammatical structures and vocabulary. And like any language, it typically takes between five to seven years to become fluent! Whilst the communication partner of a PECS user does need training to implement the protocol correctly, the simplicity of PECS means that it is widely understood by peers and those in the community who haven’t had any training.

5. PECS is affordable

Some AACs (like Voice Output Communication Aids) can be pricey when you have to buy software and a device, plus further devices when it breaks or gets old and is no longer supported. With PECS, training is the main cost. After training each PECS user will need a communication book and symbols. Any symbol set can be used for PECS it doesn’t have to be PICs for PECS.

If you’re interested in booking a workshop or finding out more about this company and PECS, you can browse several resources on their website you can use to learn more. Don't miss Pyramid Educational Consultants Ltd at stand 109 at the Tes SEN Show on 8-9 October 2021!

Author: Louise Hotchkiss, Operational Director, Pyramid Educational Consultants UK Ltd