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Anyone help with PECS

(84 Posts)
sadminster Tue 28-Jul-09 15:56:13

I haven't had any training apart from ten minutes with the SALT last week. DS has some words but will not use them to request.

We've started with one card (biscuit) what she said to do was

- engineer the situation so that he sees a biscuit that he wants but don't offer it to him.
- when he reaches for the biscuit the prompter puts the card in his hand & helps him hand it to me
- I say biscuit & give him the biscuit

but where is the card supposed to be at the beginning - with the prompter or do I give him the card when he notices the biscuit? He's so fixated on the biscuit that I don't think he notices the card - he'll usually reach for it with which ever hand doesn't have the card then run off as quickly as possible. I don't think he's learning anything.

dinosaur Tue 28-Jul-09 15:59:21

Ideally you need two people to teach this stage of PECS - one to sit in front of DS with the biscuit or whatever, and one to sit behind him and hand-over-hand to get him to pick up the biscuit card and hand it over in exchange for the biscuit. It's pretty hard to get this started on your own tbh.

Ask if you can get funded to do the one day PECS course - it's a great help.

cyberseraphim Tue 28-Jul-09 16:01:43

If he has some words I would just give him the biscuit and say biscuit several times and gradually withhold it until he says biscuit. However PECS did not work for my son, although I know it can work very well for some children, so I am probably biased. I can't really remember now but I thought PECS started with just a card for requesting (anything not just one item) and that the requesting was re inforced with whatever the child is working for. For something so 'simple' it can get quite complicated !

cyberseraphim Tue 28-Jul-09 16:02:41

Yes meant to say - virtually impossible without help to hand over hand requesting so is a 2 person job

sadminster Tue 28-Jul-09 16:06:00

thanks - that's what I thought (two people), it doesn't work very well with only an 8yo to help. Arrrggghh.

cyberseraphim Tue 28-Jul-09 16:08:02

I checked the PECS site - the one card of a biscuit is correct in Phase 1 so I have false memory syndrome about not being that so please ignore.

sadminster Tue 28-Jul-09 16:09:17

cyber that's what we've been trying (or Hanen style, any attempt at a word/sound) - ds will not imitate sounds though (have no idea where he got the words he has but I have never managed to teach him anything). It is beyond frustrating.

sadminster Tue 28-Jul-09 16:10:48

ah I hadn't thought to look at the pecs site thanks for the idea!

dinosaur Tue 28-Jul-09 16:11:01

Your 8 yo can probably help.

Get him/her to sit in front of DS with the biscuit. S/he should not verbally prompt (ie don't say "Would you like a biscuit, DS?) - just "silently entice"!

You sit behind DS and when he reaches for the biscuit, get his hand, move his hand to the card (which should be in front of him) make him pick it up and give it to the 8 yo who straight away hands DS the biscuit.

cyberseraphim Tue 28-Jul-09 16:16:57

He is still young in ASD years. DS1 really had no expressive language at all until around 3.6 years and not much immediate echolalia (which is what Hanen relies on for their biscuit technique) until around 4 years. If an ASD child develops functional language it often happens in the 3-5 age slot so don't give up hope too soon. Unfortunately time and perseverance are the main ingredients though whereas we would all like an overnight miracle instead !

busybeingmum Tue 28-Jul-09 20:50:06

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 28-Jul-09 21:34:11

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sadminster Tue 28-Jul-09 23:23:09

thanks for the tips - will try again tomorrow.

sadminster Wed 29-Jul-09 13:21:30

made much more sense this morning ... not sure ds gets it but the transaction was smoother!

mumgoingcrazy Wed 29-Jul-09 20:20:34

We started PECS about 2 months ago and were in the same boat as you in that the SALT gave me a quick intro and left me to it. I can highly recommend 'A Pictures Worth', in fact I think busybeingmum recommended it to me. It's guided me through when the SALT's advice wasn't always that great.

We never had a prompter. DH is not around much in the week and my 4yr DD is very hit and miss with how helpful she wants to be. It has worked very well for us though, already many tantrums have stopped as she just gives me the symbol of what she wants.

I think the key is getting a really good motivator, ours was having a go on the laptop hmm. Anyhow, it worked DD2's got it and we're on a roll now (I hope). Good luck!

sadminster Fri 31-Jul-09 07:31:28

thanks - I have a friend who uses PECS at work so I'm going to see if she can lend me any resources.

Had minor success last night when ds took the card without prompting & started to hand it over - needed a bit of help then, but I think he's getting the idea (he then fed me the biscuit because he didn't want it hmm )

saintlydamemrsturnip Fri 31-Jul-09 07:46:33

"he then fed me the biscuit because he didn't want it"

the most important thing when starting PECS is to use something the child does want. Doesn't matter what it is, or how odd. Use his very favourite thing in the world initially.

PECS course essential if it's something you'll be using for a while.

sadminster Fri 31-Jul-09 07:57:36

bubbles or Mr Tumble ... will make new cards today.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 31-Jul-09 08:29:41

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cyberseraphim Fri 31-Jul-09 08:35:04

Not being able to find anything that was a strong motivator was one of the reasons we did not get PECS to work. There does seem to be an assumption that all ASD children must be obsessed with something. But the point about directing communication to someone is a good one - although in our case, the SALT did not believe that DS1 was already requesting from specific people. This is one of the real problems I think , that there is no full and shared (SALT/Parent) assessment of what is really needed.

saintlydamemrsturnip Fri 31-Jul-09 08:40:44

lack of reinforcers is a huge problem for ds1 as well. We had one when we started with PECS. Luckily it was a strong one. But it's a problem that we still struggle with today. PECS is now so well understood by him that he uses it for a lot more than requesting, but in the early days that strong reinforcer was essential.

I did find a lot of SALTS using reinforcers that they thought he should like (eg teddies ffs) - again we needed the SALT who actually had autism experience and understood the importance of getting the correct items together.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 31-Jul-09 09:29:01

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StarlightMcKenzie Fri 31-Jul-09 09:33:53

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cyberseraphim Fri 31-Jul-09 11:43:57

I like the Hanen advice that you should respond to any communication as though it were purposeful (even if you know/suspect it is not). A child might look/move towards bubbles (ok I know some hate the bubbles thing but it does work for us). You say 'Bubbles' and give them to the child. If I ask DS1 a question about where to go or what to eat, I respond to the answer even if I know/suspect it is just an answer he has given for the sake of an answer. He is learning that answers are required and that his answer has meaning. ( I hope !!)

sadminster Fri 31-Jul-09 15:06:39

Well I'm now completely hacked off with the whole thing angry I don't think it is possible to use it without training which they won't pay for & we can't afford (maybe the ABA consultant will be able to help). We had another go, but it is such an artificial situation I don't see how it will help him tbh & I feel that the SALTs have just suggested it for the sake of suggesting something.

When I put the card in front of him surely that's initiating the communication - it's basically the offer of a biscuit. By handing over the card has he actually learnt to request - it isn't spontaneous? I don't think I understand how it is supposed to work.

He & dd1 managed get hold of the biscuits & scoffed the lot anyway *eye roll*

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