Thursday, November 21, 2013

Simplifying PECS in the Classroom

This is going to be a short post, but I thought this idea was worth sharing.  I have a student who is completely non -verbal that really struggles to discriminate between Boardmaker photos in his PECs book.  So, I have been putting in real picture of things, and that has helped a lot!   

However, it is actually kind of hard to always have every picture available that he might want.  He especially loves candy, and since our classroom supply is always changing, I don't always have a picture for everything.  The other day, he brought me the picture for the color "red" because he wanted a fruity tootsie roll, but didn't have a picture for it in his book.  In these moments, I am always so proud that he is trying to communicate, and also feel bad, because I don't want to reinforce an inappropriate communication attempt.   

So, to make his life, and my life easier, I made him a generic candy picture.  I found a bright yellow basket to keep my candy in, so it would be recognizable and easy to discriminate for my student.  I took a photo and made a picture (actually, I made about 10 copies of this picture in case we lose some!) for the PECS book.

He has already used it to request a lot of goodies in the last week, so I think it was a good decision.  Not only is he communicating more clearly his wants, but I am only reinforcing appropriate communication attempts.


  1. You always have such simple but great posts. This is a great strategy and I will have to remember to use it instead of trying to use something in boardmaker that doesn't quite fit.

  2. Love this post! I have just shared it on my FB page Superteach's Special Ed Spot. I am working with a student right now and we are introducing PECS so this was very timely for me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for this post. I have been having a hard time teaching my non verbal students to use the PECS book, but never thought of using actual pictures.

    Challenges Make Life Interesting

  4. I find that actual pictures can be really helpful with my kiddos too (I'm an SLP). I like your site and I'm off to check out your TPT store. If you're interested, I am just starting up a FB page and am looking for "likes".

    I will be giving away some social skills products from my TPT store and think that they might be something that would benefit your students. Just thought I'd mention, but no obligation. Keep up the great blogging :-)