Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

By Rebecca Ray

Find this Common Core aligned resource and more like it in our Special Education Category!

PECS boards are an essential tool for many nonverbal students, and their instructors. They are also known as token boards, schedule boards, transition boards, first-then boards, or visual communication boards. These invaluable tools provide students with a way to visually associate ideas about their everyday life, and to communicate with their instructors and family.

What is the Picture Exchange Communication System?

PECS come in many forms, but all include pictures. The images allow the child to communicate their needs, make choices about what they want, or to know what will come next in their daily schedule. These devices are often associated with decreased behavioral issues in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and nonverbal children, because they allow an alternative expression of needs and ideas.

Create a PECS Board  

How can PECS be Used?

PECS can be used to help a child communicate with you, and for you to provide visual schedules to them in a way that is easy to understand. PECS will typically start with pictures of desired objects like food, places, and familiar people. Over time, sentence strips are added. For example, a picture of a chocolate chip cookie that reads below, "I want cookies." For some students, these boards eventually transition from pictures to words.

Parents and educators also use PECS are to create schedule boards, a visual schedule of the child’s days. For students who have a difficult time transitioning between actives, using PECS boards is a great way to motivate them to shift settings or actions.

Create a PECS Board  

Limitations of Traditional PECS Boards

Traditional PECS boards are made of one or two inch laminated squares attached to a board, or door, or a binder by Velcro. These components undergo heavy use and are prone to being damaged or lost. Alternatives use baseball card holders or picture albums, but lost components continue to be a problem.

Traditionally purchased PECS boards necessarily have a limited range of images, descriptions, specific scenarios. More can be constructed, but the process is frequently labor and time intensive.

Creating PECS Boards

Using Storyboard That, teachers and parents can create better PECS boards. Compared with the variety of items available to traditional PECS boards, Storyboard That's options are almost endless. Plus, PECS with Storyboard That is easily customizable. With hundreds of scenes, characters, and thousands of images in search, there is always an image that can be used.

With Storyboard That, PECS boards can be quickly saved and stored in your dashboard, allowing you easy access to find them later. They're electronic, so they won't get damaged or lost, no matter how much they're used.

Here's an example of a PECS board a user might create:

Create a PECS Board  

For a closer look, take a look at some of our other articles on PECS Boards!

Create a PECS Board  

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•   (English) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Español) PECS / Tableros / Tableros de Transición   •   (Français) PECS / Fiches de Connexion / Cartes de Transition   •   (Deutsch) PECS / Token Boards / Übergangskarten   •   (Italiana) Pecs / Token Schede / Schede di Transizione   •   (Nederlands) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Português) PECS / Token Boards / Placas de Transição   •   (עברית) PECS / לוחות אסימון / לוחות מעבר   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) بكس / المجالس رمز / الانتقال المجالس   •   (हिन्दी) पेक्स / टोकन बोर्डों / संक्रमण बोर्डों   •   (ру́сский язы́к) PECS / Лексем Платы / Переходные Платы   •   (Dansk) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Svenska) PECS / Token Boards / Övergångs Boards   •   (Suomi) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Norsk) PECS / Navneendring Boards / Overgang Boards   •   (Türkçe) PECS / Simge Panoları / Geçiş Kurulları   •   (Polski) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Româna) PECS / Token Placi / Placi de Tranziție   •   (Ceština) PECS / Token Boards / Transition Boards   •   (Slovenský) PECS / Tokenové Dosky / Prechodové Dosky   •   (Magyar) Pécs / Token Alaplapok / Átmeneti Alaplapok   •   (Hrvatski) PECS / Tokenske Ploče / Prijelazne Ploče   •   (български) PECS / Token Boards / Преходни Табла   •   (Lietuvos) PECS / Token Mokesčio / Pereinamojo Laikotarpio Tarybos   •   (Slovenščina) PECS / Žetonov Plošče / Prehodne Plošče   •   (Latvijas) PECS / Token Plates / Pārejas Padomes   •   (eesti) PECS / Token Lauad / Üleminek Lauad