What Is PECS for Autism?


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The Picture Exchange Communication System for autism is a method of nonverbal communication for people with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, according to Pyramid Educational Consultants. Autistic individuals who have speech impairments select cards with pictures on them and give the cards to others to convey ideas. Andrew S. Bondy, Ph.D. and Lori Frost, M.S. developed the six-phase communication technique in 1985 to help people of all ages overcome cognitive, physical and communicative challenges.

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In the first phase, students learn to exchange a single card that depicts an item for the item depicted, explains Pyramid Educational Consultants. In the second phase, students learn to use the cards in different places and develop persistence in communicating. Phase three allows students to develop favorite requests and create storage binders for their communication books.

In phase 4, the students learn to form sentences and expand their language capabilities using the cards, notes Pyramid Educational Consultants. Phase 5 teaches the students how to answer when someone asks them what they want. Phase 6 teaches students to create sentences, comment and respond to questions asking them what they see or feel. Families, teachers, resident care providers and students worldwide use this system to communicate.

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