Here at Broadmeadow, we believe that communication holds an important key to all learning and underpins life itself, both in a functional and enjoyable way. The development of skills within this area is fundamental to the all-round development of pupils with learning difficulties. The ability to spontaneously interact with others in order to access a particular outcome is a skill that many of us take for granted. But the inability to do this is perhaps the most significant obstacle to independent living for those with disabilities.
Picture Exchange Communication System is a specific teaching method to develop functional expressive communication. Children are first taught to initiate communication through the use of a simple picture exchange, going on to learn how to formulate more specific messages, sentence construction and commenting.
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed in 1985 by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost. It was originally developed for use with preschool-aged children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and other social-communicative disorders who display no functional or socially effective speech. It is now recognised as being an effective communication method for people across a range of ages and with a wide range of difficulties in using speech.
How is PECS delivered at Broadmeadow?
For those children at Broadmeadow that are assessed as being appropriate candidates for using PECS, it is taught intensively through a structured program and integrated functionally and fully into their curriculum. We have two Certified PECS Implementers on our staff – Alison Egerton (Communication Co-ordinator) and Deena Whitehouse (Higher Level Teaching Assistant).
We also run PECS workshops for parents so that they can learn how to use it at home with their children and follow this up with home visits as requested.