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Assistive Technology: PECS

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Alicia Dunn

on 8 March 2015

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Transcript of Assistive Technology: PECS

EDUU: 560
Alicia Dunn
Assistive Technology
PECS: The Picture Exchange Communication System
How to Implement
The Function
Myths Continued
What are the Legal Rights:
Laws Cont.
Common Myths
What is Assistive Technology?
What is PECS
A wide-ranging term that describes any technology used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. They aim to help overcome challenges, encourage independence, and overall enhances the quality of life for its user. It can also be used as a substitute such as augmentative communication devices.

They range from low tech and high tech, and some in between. Low tech is something as simple as magnify glass or 3 ring binder set up as a writing platform, whereas High tech are things like IPADs or power wheelchairs. Some in the middle are alternative keyboards and books on cd.

Assistive Technology is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it prevents discrimination and specially requires telephone companies provide necessary services to allow people who are deaf or hearing impaired to use telecommunication devices.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guaranteed that eligible children and youth with disabilities would have a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) available to them, designed to meet their unique educational need including access to assistive technology.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that all electronic and information technologies developed and used by any Federal government agency must be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes websites, video and audio tapes, electronic books, televised programs, and other such media. Individuals with disabilities may still have to use special hardware and/or software to access the resources.
Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act Amendments of 1998 require schools to integrate academic, vocational and technical training, increase the use of technology, provide professional development opportunities to staff and more.

The Assistive Technology Act is intended to improve the provision of assistive technology to individuals with disabilities through comprehensive statewide programs of technology-related assistance.
The statewide activities include:
State finance systems - activities to increase access to, and funding for, assistive technology devices and services, including development of systems to provide and pay for such devices and services.
Device reutilization programs - activities that provide for the exchange, repair, recycling, or other reutilization of assistive technology devices, which may include redistribution through device sales, loans, rentals, or donations.
Device loan programs - activities that provide short-term loans of assistive technology devices to individuals, employers, public agencies, or others seeking to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Device demonstration programs - activities that demonstrate a variety of assistive technology devices and provide assistive technology services.

More information on California's Assistive Technology Project Visit: http://www.abilitytools.org/
Ability Tools. (2015). about. Retrieved from Assistive Technology Network California's Tech Act Project: http://www.abilitytools.org/
Georgia Tech. (2015). What is Assistive Technology. Retrieved from Tools for LIFE: http://www.gatfl.org/assistive.php
Pyramid Educational Consultants. (2015). PECS. Retrieved from PECS USA: http://www.pecsusa.com/
The Family Center on Technology and Disability. (2015). Assistive Technology Laws. Retrieved from FVTD: http://www.fctd.info/factsheet/atlaws

Developed in 1985 as a form of augmentative alternative communication (AAC), it was originally developed for children with autism.
PECS is a system for instructing students to initiate communication through the use of pictures/symbols in place of words.
In 2008, The National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) adopted the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) as one of 24 evidence-based practices

Examples of Low & High Tech
If you use pictures, you’re using PECS
PECS is a specific system for teaching communication, it is not a visual support system using icons.

If you use PECS, the learner will never develop speech
Research shows indicates vocalizations and improved speech when speech skills are acquired when using PECS


PECS can only be used with children with autism
PECS has been proven successful for a wide variety of disabilities ranging from Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum to Down syndrome and even ESL (English as a second language). Age also is not a factor as it can start from as young as 16 months to 80 years or older.
PECS only teaches learners to make single picture requests
PECS starts with single picture exchanges to request, expands to multi picture requesting, then expands to commenting, both responsively and expressively.
The primary function of PECS is to teach individuals, often who have little to no communication skills to be able to initiate communication, and learn to request, often desired items or activities. Initation is taught by handing a picture to a communication partner in exchange for the desired object or item.
Students who learn to request an item through PECS may move toward commenting on or describing something, and eventually to having a conversation.

Source: Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc 2015
Source: Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) 2014
Source: Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) 2014
Source: Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc
There is some planning and preparation that goes into using PECS which primarily consists of gathering picture resources from the web, purchased books, or even your own photos. The most common and inexpensive way to utilize PECS is through the use of PECS book individualized for the student.

There are six phases of the PECS program, each being highly structured and taught in a specific manner in order to move onto the next one. Understanding the process and even working with your professional colleagues, especially a Speech Therapist in implementing the PECS program can render success.
Six Phases

PECS PHASE I: How to Communicate
The child with autism learns to exchange single pictures for items or activities they really want.
PECS PHASE II: Distance and Persistence
Still using single pictures, the child with autism learn to generalize this new skill by using it in different places, with different people and across distances. They are also taught to be more persistent communicators.
PECS PHASE III: Picture Discrimination
The child with autism learns to select from two or more pictures to ask for their favorite things. These are placed in a communication book, a ring binder with Velcro strips where pictures are stored and easily removed for communication.
PECS PHASE IV: Sentence Structure
The child with autism learns to construct simple sentences on a detachable sentence strip using an "I want" picture followed by a picture of the item being requested.
PECS PHASE V: Answering Questions
The child with autism learns to use PECS to answer the question, "What do you want?"
PECS PHASE VI: Commenting
Now the child with autism is taught to comment in response to questions such as, What do you see?, What do you hear? and What is it? They learn to make up sentences starting with I see, I hear, I feel, It is a, etc.
Source: Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc 2008
Source: Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc 2008
PECS provides a great foundation for communication skills and can be used to as a stepping stone to more complex communication systems. It helps initiate conversation and communicate, and has been proven to be successful to students of various disabilities. It is easily adaptable, low cost, low tech, and an effective assistive technology tool used in both the home, school, and community setting.
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