"How To Set Up A Special Education Program"- Communication Day 2

How To Set Up A PECS Book

PEC’s is a great system for communication.  Once your student has progressed through the beginning stages of PEC’s it is time to introduce a sentence strip to build full sentence communication.  Simply follow the steps below to make your own PECs book!

“Real Pictures” PECS

I have some students who benefit from using real photographs for PECs communication.  Below is a sample of a communication book I set up using large (3x5) photographs for this student.  She had a physical disability and was unable to manage smaller icons thus I used larger pictures.  To start, I worked with her favorite toys/activiites.  In order to teach communication- I find it most successful teaching communicating “wants” first.  Once students understand the exchange of icons for preferred items, it will be easier to teach communication for needs and academic purposes.  Here are a few pictures:

“Real Pictures/Clip Art” PECS

I have some students who started with “real pictures” in their own  PECS communication book.  As they begin to master the concept of PECs, I try to introduce “clip art” images into their book.  I like to start with colors, shapes, numbers and common classroom items (book/ pencil/ computer etc.).


“Clip Art” PECS

Sometimes you come across a student with the most advanced cognitive development, yet no “voice”.  Unfortunately sometimes these kiddo’s have slipped through the cracks for a few years.  For students that have either spent time expanding their PECs book or have demonstrated the understanding of PECs, it’s time to set up a large and in depth communication book for them.  If the student has the ability to talk- we don’t want to limit their word base.  Here is a sample of a full communication book that can be used for these students.  I designed it myself to meet my non-verbal or limited speaking students needs.

This book has over 500 Boardmaker PECS organized into
27 pages total! Each page has a visual tab so that it is easy to flip through the book.  

Using Boardmaker images, this book is a great introductory PECS tools that can be used in any classroom or home.  Here are some pages to the PECS book:

Like my PECs communication book I mentioned on the last page, I have also created a communication aide book using the same format/layout.  The only difference is that this book does not need to be assembled with velcro.  Each page can be printed and laminated.  I used this book with one student who was VELCRO crazy.  Giving him a book like this was like a gift on Christmas morning- the icons were too distracting for him.  I made this book for him- and II taught him to simply point to each icon to communicate.  Once I removed the velcro/exchange process he was able to communicate fluently to his peers.  While this is not considered “PECS’ since there is no exchange involved, it is a personalized form of communication that benefited this one student and their individual needs.   It can also be used with limited verbal speaking students who need that extra prompt to get their thoughts out!   Here are a few pictures!


High Tech Communication Devices

The newest craze in Special Education is the use of High tech Communication devices.  This can be any iPad, tablet or computer technologies for special needs that provides voice out put communication..  I have worked with several different types and get asked all the time which one is my favorite.  I can’t answer that because every student benefits from different equipment.


4 Compartment Communication Device

This is a 4 Compartment Communicating device.  I got this device ordered for one of my lowest students who is non-verbal.  He can tantrum/cry for hours in a day when we are unable to figure out what he wants or what is bothering him.  While we have a simple 4 icon PECs book set up for him, he is still hand over hand dependent at this time. 

This low tech communication device is a great tool for every special education program.  It is a great way to teach students to communicate their BASIC wants through preferred objects for students who are unable to recognize pictures.  You can simply pick four items to target at a time (ex: food items, crayons, art supplies).  Program the device so that each slot has the correct voice out put.  Teach the student to request the desired item by clicking on the corresponding button.  It’s important to follow through- so if they request something- hand it to them!  It is very important to  respect their request in the early stages of communication!

Tomorrow is Day 3 of Communication week and let me tell you- it's a good one!

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