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Is anyone using Pecs comunication with there lo?

(30 Posts)
Marne Fri 17-Oct-08 16:00:13

Hi we have just strted using Pecs with dd2 (possible ASD), so far it seems to be going well but she is finding the handing over of the pictures a bit hard. She is using the to choose foodd and drinks and will point to the one she wants but still needs prompting to hand the card to me.

Is anyone else using pecs with there child? and if so ,how long does it take before they get the hang of it?

bubblagirl Fri 17-Oct-08 18:06:42

i have just started this with ds but i just got him to point at cards then i verbalise what he pointed at

maybe when understanding comes along more you can step it up to passing you the card but stick to pointing for now as long as there is understanding between you both

i did find if i put the said card in his hand then said mummy have putting my hand out i would use his hand to pass to me then said well done after a few attempts he did pass it to me as remembered me doing it

not much advise im afraid as only just started but maybe someone may have better advise good luck

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 18:26:49

We've been using PECS for over 6 years.

What sort of training have you had? If you haven't already been I would recommend the 2 day training course, I think it's essential really to get PECS running well.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 18:27:42

If you can't get on the training the pyramid PECS DVD of the phases is worth watching. (Type PECS pyramid UK into google and you'll get info about the training and the DVD).

Marne Fri 17-Oct-08 19:59:23

I have been working along side her nursery teacher, she decided pecs would be the best way to go as we don't yet know if dd is ASD or has a speach disorder. The nursery leader has explained pecs to me and how they are going to use it at nursery, they want me to continue this at home. At nursery she is encouraged to had the picture over in return for the item (food).
Hopefully the nursery will be sending me on a course soon, im not sure when this will be as dd is the only child there using pec's (they tend to send 4 or 5 parents at once), i am going on a comunication course in november but i think that its based on signing.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:08:25

If you think you're going to be using PECS for a long time I'd really make sure you go on the 2 day PECS workshop run by Pyramid. Unless you have an ABA or VB specialist working with you it's hard to 'get' PECS properly without that.

I know moondog will back me up on this

The courses are very professional and parents can go half price (not that that makes them particularly cheap!)

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:10:28

Does she imitate? So if for example you say do this and clap will she clap?

We were initially encouraged to use sign, but it was a total waste of time because ds1 couldn't imitate. Now he's 9 and learned to imitate a couple of years ago he is finally picking up sign and it's becoming very useful to him, but that's recent.

Marne Fri 17-Oct-08 20:17:51

sometimes she will imitate, she signs for 'bread stick' which she has picked up from nursery, they use signing with all the children. I will ask at the nursery if they will be running a course, i can't realy afford to pay to go on one sad, most of the courses run through the nursery are funded.

TotalChaos Fri 17-Oct-08 20:32:04

Marne - what I am about to post will be more useful to Bubbla than you I am afraid re:my PECs experience, apologies! . I used PECs with DS when he was at one-two word level to try and build him up into sentences. Because he was already verbal he got the hang of it very quickly - took a week or two to get from a very garbled "havva more juice" to "I + want + juice". Having a visual sentence structure kickstarted other spontaneous sentences about 3 months after I started using PECs. I had a little bit of advice from private SALT abot using PECs (she prepared a little PECs communication book for us), but didn't go on a course. I think though a course would be extremely helpful if you are using PECs with a non-verbal child.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:40:09

Can I be pedantic and say that what you did was great TC (and to be recommended) but is not PECS for communication.

I know you've said it in your post already, but I see people describing things like visual timetables as PECS, when they're not so I want to just highlight the difference.

PECS is a specific communication (AAC) system and if you're using it for communication it does need to be used in its very specific, set way. If you're using symbols to support speech or literacy, or behaviour and anxiety then that's all good, but it;s not PECS.

Marne - have a look at places like your local rotary, they are often desperate to spend their money! I think the Caudwell trust may pay for PECS courses as well (not sure though) It depends how you will use PECS. If for communication then I would really look at getting it funded if possible. I think actually that pyramid themselves fund some parents. Give me 5 minutes....

Marne Fri 17-Oct-08 20:41:27

Thankyou, we are using a little book that nursery has made for her with photos ans symbals. She brings me the book when she wants a drink. She tends to drag my finger to things when she wants them, i am trying to replace this with using the pictures but it seems like alot of work so we don't always use it (even though we should). Nursery are pleased with the progress so far.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:45:22

It does sound good although really I can't emphasise enough how brilliant the training is (I had about a year of trying to sort of do it and not getting very far)

These are the people I was thinking of pyramid educational trust

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:45:52

I'm sure they would fund you if you write to them.

TotalChaos Fri 17-Oct-08 21:50:36

Thanks for correcting me jimjams. So I suppose I used PECs symbols rather than PECs as a communication system then?

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 22:21:35

I guess you used it as visual support (which is great, not knocking it at all), but I think it's important to distinguish that from PECS where you're teaching the idea of communication as well, or you're getting a child to use it as their method of AAC.

moondog Fri 17-Oct-08 22:35:10

Agreeing 100% with Jimjams.
I get people telling me every day they are using PECS and they are not. It's visually supported communication. It's essential to be clear about the difference.

I even had a fellow SALT transfer a child to me this week with what she described as a PECS system. She handed the file over saying 'Are yuo a PECS purist? I'm not'

Er yes, that much was patently obvious within 5 mins of meeting the child in question. hmm

Yes Marne, we often persuade social services to fund PECS courses. Please go.It is no exgarration to say that it changed the course of my life, both professionally and personally. smile

TotalChaos Fri 17-Oct-08 22:38:52

thanks for the further info Moondog. It was presented to me as being a method of AAC (DS was to point out things in the communication book with me encouraging the verbalisation too iyswim). Apologies for confusing anyone with inaccurate terminology. I can quite see why it's important to get these things right.

moondog Fri 17-Oct-08 22:51:55

It is an A/AC method and a very good one too.Also so much easier these days thanks to digital cameras and Google Images. When I started work (not so long ago) it was real life cutting and pasting!

No need to apologise. It is all very confusing, I agree. smile
If I had my way, everyone in the world would do a PECS course!

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 17-Oct-08 23:05:39

Is it augmentative rather than alternative?

I guess its backing up communication that is already there and supporting emerging speech. But 'pure' PECS is teaching the purpose of communication as well, the idea that you can communicate in order to get what you want , and how to do it (how to badger people) etc. It becomes important to do it properly or you can end up in a mess. (Voice of experience of having spent frustrating times in a mess!)

moondog Fri 17-Oct-08 23:11:20

Augmentative assists speech.
Alternative takes the place of it (stuff like BSL)

The brilliant thing abuot PECS is indeed that it taps into the desire for sometihng (what us ABA fans call 'establishing operations') Staggeringly obvious really but so often missed. You will make a neffort to communicate about something you really really want.

Today I watched an assistant go and get the PECS book and prompt the child to ask for yoghurt at snack time. She (assistant) was really pleased with herself until I pointed out that the kid already had the yoghurt so why on earth would she need to ask for it.

Last week i read a report by a well meaning nurse who had started PECS with a child. It said something long the lines of 'Susie will use single words to ask for preferred object. However, we encourage her to present the PECS picture after doing so. She often loses interest and walks away when we do this but we are not sure why.'

<<loads up the AK47>>

drowninginlaundry Sat 18-Oct-08 07:05:52

oh yes the establishing operations! So many teachers don't get this

moondog, what do you think about this one: my ABA people last year discouraged us from starting PECS as DS1 was already verbal (well, barely - vocab of about 50 single words), they advised that it would create an unnecessary hurdle for emerging speech. Were they right do you think?

cyberseraphim Sat 18-Oct-08 08:01:33

We had this issue too - about whether PECs would be a good idea for a verbal (limited but verbal) child and it was the point about communication that put me off in the end. If DS1 already knows that saying 'apple juice' will get him apple juice then he does not need PECS to kickstart the idea of communication as such. The NHS SALT thought I was mad (to turn down PECS) but all I can say is that we did think about it seriously rather than just dismiss it out of hand.

moondog Sat 18-Oct-08 13:28:00

This is a very interesting question.
I've come at ABA from an unusual route, which is via discovering PECS as a salt and thrn doing an MSc, so I know the theory and am still limited in exposure to grass roots ABA.

I have spent a large part of the last 4 years lobbying at managerial level for formla commitment to PECS which we now have in both health and Education. (Hooray!!!)

It is only now that I am able to watch and learn from people carrying out programmes and I myself have been mildly puzzled by the fact that some ABA therapists don't use pECS but focus on imitation tasks for speech.

When I studied EOs in depth I was staggered by the fact it seemed even necessary to do so. For a SALT this stuff is blindingly obvious. All disciplines are strong and weak in different areas but what SALTs are great at is emphasising functional -ie useful- communication irrespective of modality.

What we aren't good at (or able to do well given huge caseloads) is give precise and prescriptive advice on intervention. I realise that 99 % of people just can't take a suggestion or recommendation and go with it. They need stuff to be speeled out very clearly. This is what appealed to me about PECS and ABA.

I do think that in ABA there might osmetimes be an emphasis on repetition of speech with inadequate understanding, but that is why i thnk SALT and ABA can work so well together. They bring differenet but essentially complementary aims to the table.

In the case of your son DIL, it's impossible to pass an opinion based on what said here but if it was a RL professional situation in which i was involved, I would challenge vigorously and expect a very solid theoretical justification for the decision not to use PECS.

drowninginlaundry Sat 18-Oct-08 18:42:04

In hindsight I agree 100% moondog, as after nearly 18 months of VB (6 months of that full time, then 9 hrs per week) and a SALT programme at nursery, DS1's speech really has not come on at all. His vocab has expanded a bit (well, more animal names smile) but he still cannot string two words together at all (he'll be 5 in March). The motivation to communication is absolutely there, but he just does not want to speak, it's as if speaking petrifies him and I now think that trying to force it out of him may have done him more harm than good.

This is why we started the literacy programme with Marion Blank - the one that jimjams is doing - to see if he would acquire language 'through the back door'. I am very excited with the progress he's made in just over two months, but it's too early to tell how much his speech will develop as a result of the programme, or whether the recent leap we've seen is just part of maturation, or because we as a family are happier after our recent move out of London, or all of the above.

Unfortunately a lot of the ABA folk I've met don't really give the SALT profession the credit it deserves, there is a tendency to get a bit partisan with this particular philosophy which is not very helpful. I agree with you that both disciplines have a lot to contribute and I wish there were more SALTs trained in both!

cyberseraphim Sat 18-Oct-08 18:55:14

I think PECS is a great system and I would jumped at the chance two years ago ( DS1 is 4.6 now) but time has moved on and although DS1 has a long way to go with speech, he can use some grammar now and can speak in meaningful phrases so I just wasn't convinced that PECs would help him now. I don't think getting partisan about anything helps as ASD children like all children have a variety of needs and skills.

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