Document 5362379

Picture Exchange Communication System
based on PECS
Bondy & Frost, 1994 &2002
Presented by:
Medley Sapp, MEd.
Sharon Jasperson, Technical Assistant
The Important Info:
Grade level
Experience with PECS
Participation Expectation
• Participate in all activities
and discussions
throughout the day.
• Be respectful and attend
to colleagues’ input.
• Silence cell phones and
no texting.
• Share questions, grow as
a professional, and have
fun learning more about
PECS in the classroom.
Information about the
Assistive Technology Department
• Website:
PECS: Developed by
Andy Bondy and Lori Frost
Blends the fields of Applied Behavioral
Analysis and Speech Language Pathology
Pyramid Products
Fact or Myth?
Schedules are PECS.
Choice boards are PECS.
Visual Prompts/Cues are PECS.
Pointing to a pictures is PECS.
Discrimination is a prerequisite to start PECS
PECS can only be used with students with
What is PECS?
The Picture Exchange Communication System
is a communication training system that
teaches a means of functional communication
within a social context (Bondy & Frost, 1994).
Goal is to develop SPONTANEOUS
(PCS are Picture Communication Symbols)
Why PECS vs. Other Systems?
PECS requires a student to give a picture to a
communicative partner (requesting)with a concrete
outcome (reinforcement) (Bondy & Frost, 1994).
Other picture systems such as picture pointing focus
on labeling rather than requesting(Carr, 1982;Powers&Handelman,1984
in Bondy & Frost, 1994).
 Picture pointing systems may be good for typically developing children that are
intrinsically motivated and reinforced socially. For students with “autism”, concrete
reinforcers are often required as they are generally not motivated by social praise.
Why PECS vs. Other Systems? CON’T
PECS does not require prerequisite imitation
or motor skills which may be required for
picture pointing or sign language systems (Bondy
& Frost, 1994)
When is PECS Appropriate?
Student is not using functional
Student is using functional communication
but cannot be understood by unfamiliar
The student does not initiate
To increase mean length of utterance.
To increase vocabulary.
So, How do I get Started?
The only prerequisite
for implementing
PECS is knowing
the reinforcer.
Every child is unique
and is motivated and
reinforced by
different items and
social rewards.
To address individual
needs and tastes give
assessments regularly
to have access to
reinforcement when
teaching the various
phases of PECS.
Informal Reinforcer Assessment
Look at what student is trying to get
Ask family about child’s preferences
Formally develop a reinforcer hierarchy:
- Most desired
- Moderately preferred
- Tries to avoid
Assess at different times of the day
Formal Assessment of Reinforcers
Select an assortment of reinforcers ( see
Put the reinforcers out within the child’s
reach and see what he selects. Repeat
procedure with different items.
Display the items the child has selected in
the previous steps. See which of these items
he reaches for first.
This should be your STRONGEST reinforcer.
Begin here
PECS Group, 2010
Reinforcer First Strategy
Students know what they will get when
they make the request.
PECS Group, 2010
Determine Symbols to be used
Picture Icons (Pogoboards)
Line Drawings
Organizing PCS Items
Blocks/objects in “shoe box” for student
Blocks/objects in “shoe box” for staff use
File pictures
Tempo Loop fabric on the wall (for
students to pick, replace, or staff to
replace lost PCS
PCS Storage
Understanding the Phases of
• Teach one phase at a
• Sequential progression
through each phase is
the best predictor of
success in a student
commenting, and
requesting that will last
a lifetime.
Bondy and Frost,
Phase I
Phase I teaches students HOW to
Goal=INITIATION; The student MUST go
PHASE I: Teaching the Physically
Assisted Exchange
Requires 2 people: Communicative Partner and
NO verbal prompts.
Present one picture at a time (NO BOOKS OR SENTENCE STRIPS ARE
Conduct training across the day, not at one time or
in one place.
Use different reinforcers.
Modify symbol/picture to match motor skills (Block
example: Jas/Timoteo)
Communicative Partner
Physical Prompter
Entice the student
Wait for student initiation
R+ student exchange (w/item) (Reach for object)
within 1/2 second
Physically prompt student:
Pair social praise w/R+
pick up, reach, release
Time open hand (student reaches
for comm. partner)
Pick up  Reach
Picture of Phase I Example
“Backstep” error correction is used when the
student makes an error in the task.
Example: student picks up picture and drops
it before putting in communicative partner’s
hand. Physical prompter goes back to the last
step performed correctly and prompts from
that point through end of task.
Phase I PCS Travel
Things to Remember
The child initiates the training sequence not
the silent partner.
Do not conduct training in one session. Trials
should be spread out throughout the entire.
Change trainers right from the beginning so
student does not communicate with only one
Change reinforcers as often as possible so
student does not come satiated or get tired
of the reinforcer.
PECS Group, 2010
Practice Phase I
Phase I
What happens if the child will not reach for the
reinforcer ? Check the strength of the reinforcer.
What happens if the child quits handing the
reinforcer in the middle of training? Try to end the
session with a successful training sequence.
What happens if the child can’t see the picture? Try
larger pictures, adding color or tactile cards.
What happens if the child gets upset when I take a
toy? Getting upset is an initiation to go through the
training sequence very quickly and give the toy
PECS Group, 2010
Phase I Data
Phase I
Criteria For Mastery
Independent exchange across 3-5
reinforcers with 2+ communicative
partners in 2 different environments.
Phase I Review
What type of prompts are used?
What does the Communicative Partner say when
What does the Physical Prompter say?
When is the Communicative Partner’s open hand
How quickly is the reinforcer given to the
How many pictures are used?
Is discrimination required?
How many trainers are required?
Phase II: Distance and Persistence
Goal= Travel to the book and travel to the
communicative partner; communicate in
multiple places with multiple people.
Introduce communication book
Students carry communication books to all
Compile pictures in book.
Introduce communication book.
2 Trainers (just in case!)
No verbal prompts used.
Teach variety of pictures but only one at a time on
front of the book.
New skills is increasing distance to communicative
partner then increase distance from student to book.
Train across the day; student should take the
book everywhere they go. This requires 2
Use a variety of communicative partners.
Use backstep error correction as needed.
Phase II Communication Book
Picture Example
Phase II Picture Example
Practice Phase II
Phase II
Student gets distracted while traveling:
decrease the distance, find new, more
powerful R+
Student is not able/allowed out of seat:
teach the student to “call” the
communicative partner (bell, Big Mack)
Carrying the book is difficult: use straps,
backpacks, possible books located in all
Phase II Data Sheet
Phase II
Criteria for Mastery
Student should be able to cross a room to
retrieve a picture and travel across the
room to the communicative partner.
Student should have 5-10 reinforcers.
Phase II
How many trainers are required?
How many pictures are used?
What does the Communicative Partner
say while enticing the student?
What does the Physical Prompter say to
the student?
What is the goal of Phase II?
Phase III
Goal of Phase III=Student chooses
among pictures on the communication
IIIA: Simple Discrimination: Highly
preferred vs. distracter
IIIB: Conditional Discrimination: Two
Present 2 items w/pictures; one highly preferred and
one non-preferred or a distracter.
New skill is choosing “correct” picture; verbally R+
when student touches correct picture.
 Physical prompter is not needed (Physical prompter is used for
initiation; not needed when initiation is spontaneous).
Communicative partner may prompt using 4-step
error correction.
Student chooses incorrect picture=
4-step error correction
If the student chooses the incorrect picture,
give no social R+ and give the student the
item, then go into 4-step error correction.
4-Step Error Correction
Give item corresponding to picture. (“my turn”)
1. Model or Show correct picture.
2. Prompt; hold hand near correct picture, gesture.
Verbal R+ but do not give item.
3. Switch (“do this”)
4. Repeat.
3 trials then errorless (take away distracter)
4-Step Error Correction
Practice Phase III A
Phase IIIA Data
Present book w/2 pictures of R+ items with the items.
Student requests.
Communicative partner, instead of giving items says,
“take it”, “go ahead”, etc.)
Student takes correct item = R+++
Student takes incorrect item = block access and go
into 4-step error correction. (Model/show, prompt,
verbal R+, switch, repeat)
4 Step Error Correction with 2 R+
Practice Phase III
Correspondence Check
Troubleshooting Discrimination
Phase IIIB Data
Phase III Mastery
Student is able to discriminate from a field
of 5 pictures.
Final step in discrimination training is to
teach the student to look inside of the
book for a specific picture.
Final Step in Discrimination
• When a child is
correctly choosing
between 5 pictures,
teach the child to get
the pictures from inside
the book.
• Remove the pictures from the
outside of the book. Open the
book and encourage the child to
take a picture from there.
• When the student is proficient at
thumbing through the book and
finding a picture there is no
longer a need to rotate the
• Organize the book so items are
on pages by category. Tabs may
be used to help organize
categories and separate different
pages of the book.
PECS Group, 2010
Phase III
How many trainers are required?
What two pictures are used in Phase IIIA?
What two pictures are used in Phase IIIB?
What error correction procedure is used in
Phase III?
Phase III iPad app
PECS and IEP’s
In accommodations/modifications;
student will use alternate communication
system using pictures or other symbols.
Write specific goals:
Upon seeing and wanting a particular item, and with a
picture of that item in reach, student will pick up the
picture, reach to person holding the item, and release the
picture into that person’s hand.
Download objectives from
Look up school user and password @
Practice making Picture Communication
Symbols to use with PECS.
Thank You for Coming!