Using PECS with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

‘PECS was developed in 1985 as a unique augmentative/alternative communication intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities.’

Where can I start? ASD has always been a passion of mine. It is something that I truly love to research further and gain experience within. As a result of this, I currently work part time as a ‘Play Leader’ with children whom have ASD and I also volunteer in a specialist school. Additionally, I am passionate about inclusive education and that every single child, despite their differing needs, should be involved in ALL aspects of education. I also believe that children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) should have the same opportunities as those who do not. As ASD often affects communication skills, I consider PECS as a vital resource to promote pupil voice and inclusion. I am lucky enough to work with PECS on a weekly basis and also have my own set to use (in the image below). Although I have not been trained on how to use this, I use this effectively with the children to communicate their basic needs. The most used visual images tend to be: toilet, I like, I do not like, snack, play and wash hands. Without PECS, I believe that this will have a damaging impact on those children who are non-verbal and fully rely on PECS to communicate with others. Due to my experience using this, I would feel confident if I ever had to implement this resource into my classroom. Who knows… I may end up working in a specialist school somewhere in the future.

In the near future, I would love to attend developmental training sessions on PECS to develop my knowledge and understanding. As I only use this to communicate basic needs, I would like to use it more in depth to form sentences, etc. I also aim to continue my research into ASD and how to cater for these needs. I am currently writing a 1500 word assignment based on how PECS can support teaching and learning, and this has already enabled me to develop my theoretical knowledge and understanding further!

Here is a picture of the PECS I currently use:


Teachers’ Standards links – 

  1. TS1 – establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect.
  2. TS2 – demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how pupils learn and how this impacts on teaching
  3. TS5
  4. Part 2 -treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position

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