"How To Set Up A Special Education Program"- Communication Day 1

Using One PEC ICON to request a preferred item/Activity

Teaching Communication is my top priority in the school setting.  One of my favorite ways to integrate communication is for some of the most preferred items in my classroom.  I add icons throughout the room in special locations to teach students to request independently.  An example is shown below:

One of my student’s is obsessed with books.  I added a book icon to the storage cabinet next to the books.  I attached it with velcro.  I am teaching my student to walk to the books, take the icon, and hand it to a staff member indicating that he wants a book.  Starting with one icon to introduce communication is a easy way to push towards a full communication system.

Where to Start A Student with PECS Communication?

Starting a student with PECS communication can seem like a daunting task.  As with everything in Special Education, every child is different.  With your lowest students, starting with real photographs is a great method.  Real photographs may be easy to understand for some students.  If your student is able to interpret clip art images such as symbol stix or boardmaker- then you can start straight with clip art images.  Here are a few pictures of PEC’s I’ve used over the years!

1.       Give student a choice by placing two toys in front of him/her.
2.    When he/she grabs one toy, find that picture icon, and place it on the binder in front of the student.
3.    Position the PEC's book in between the communicating student and the communicating staff member.
4.    Place a second staff member behind the communicating student to prompt the student when needed.
5.    Wait for the child to reach for the toy and have the prompting staff member physically prompt the student to grab the picture icon and hand it to the communicating staff.
6.    The communicating staff member will say, "Blocks" and hold up the picture icon while handing the child the matching toy.
7.    Allow the child to play for a minute or two, and start again by taking the toy away and saying something along the lines of "my turn.”
8.    Wait for the child to reach for the toy, and repeat the steps to requesting the toy through a PEC
This system can be used for toys, activities, snacks and much more.  The key to teaching PEC's communication is using two staff members in the beginning.  By using two staff members, the communicating staff member is able to focus on the two way communication.  The second staff member behind the child is able to prompt the student with out having to communicate with the student.  The makes it much easier for the student and does not confuse the student.
Great opportunities to introduce PECS to a student:  Play time, snack time, recess, and art.  Find the most motivating parts of the day and encourage the child that they WANT to communicate!  With time, build upon the child’s picture vocabulary and store them all in a handy dandy book!

Come back tomorrow. I have a LOADED post about communication for you :)

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