Home > Treatment Approaches > Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Picture exchange communication system or PECS, is an alternative form of communication that uses pictures instead of words to help children with autism communicate. Often, children with autism may have a delay in speech development. PECS is used to allow the child to communicate, even if he/she cannot express themselves with words. With PECS, the child is given a set of pictures, for example, favorite foods or toys, and when the child wants one of these items, the child uses the picture to communicate. PECS can also be used to make comments about things seen or heard in the environment. A child might see an airplane or a flower, and hand a picture of the item to his or her parent or caretaker. The hope is that the child will eventually begin to use natural speech as their primary source of communication. This, eventually, will make it easier for the child to take charge in a verbal communication.