Today myself and J’s Daddy went to PECS training at our local Child Development Centre.
What is PECS?
It stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. This basically means using picture and symbols to communicate to others. The idea is that J will build up to having a set of photos with every day objects, food, favourite things that he can give to adults to request what he wants and needs without the pressure of ‘talking’.
So how does this help?
At first it will give J a way to ask for things that are not immediately available to him. J doesn’t talk so this instantly tells the adult what he wants. This will boost his confidence and self esteem as well as help to avoid behaviour issues due to not being understood. Then as he gets older we can progress to creating sentences using 3 cards eg ‘I’ ‘want’ ‘car’. The idea is that if J is able to learn to verbalise he will talk using cards as a prompt. In the scenerio that he doesn’t learn to talk then this builds up his understand of language and he can have conversations not just ask for things.
How does it help talk?
The adult will use the words and say the sentence ‘car’/’you want a car’ which acts as a model. Eventually J ‘should’ mimick this and will also attempt to say the word. In the long term the aim is for J to need the PECS book less and less and switch to talking instead.
Emotionally, the training really brought home that we are the parents to a child with a special need. For some reason that hadn’t really struck me yet. But in the room full of parents of children with Autism, learning difficulties and professionals who came to learn how to support the children in their settings, I realised that I am the parent of a child who needs additional support, who isn’t like other children his age and who may need help long term. Why has that only just hit me?
Anyway, once we have our book set up I will post more about PECS. I might even attempt to be technological and post videos on the Facenook page to show you how it works…we’ll see haha X