Starting to use PECS

Fin has been at school now for coming up to 6 months already. His complex needs meant we weren't expecting too much in the name of progress, however being at a specialist school it wouldn't have been too surprising had he actually have managed to come on in some way - we just didn't want to have our hopes up to be honest.

Well we had parents' evening the other day and we were very pleased to see that Finley has moved from 0-6m or 6-12m in the EYFS charts to 8-20m in most areas. Wahoo!! It's all the teeny tiny things that happen which are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, yet they're the mortar to his brick building progress. 




Coming up to 5 years old now we remain non-verbal however school reported that he is very strong on his use of PECS (Picture Exchange Cards). In particularly with his choice of juice. He has a choice of blackcurrant or orange (in a green cup) and if he wants one or the other more you will know about it and he'll not give in with his whacking you on the head with his card of choice ha! 

This is just fantastic. He knows what he wants and can finally express it to adults... even if it is a little forceful at times. Well done Finley!! Currently we have food cards but that's purely down to what motivates him. He's not really very requesting of toys or anything like that, and he won't eat biscuits or chocolate;  but apples and raisins etc... he loves. We don't limit him when it comes to snacks and even though we know he won't opt for sweet things, the cards are always available should he change his mind.

Do any of my readers use PECS with their children? Any hints or tips? 



My one tip is to keep them low, almost at head height, and freely available. Fin normally goes to the kitchen if and when he wants something. He would usually drag one of us in and throw our arms in the rough direction of where his desired item lives. So we chose to pop them on the fridge with magnets and it seems to be working well at home. Not all the time though, but hey what else is new with autistic children. All on their terms isn't it! 

Fingers crossed he can start using makaton soon as well. We've been trying with 'again' and 'more' for approx 18 months and it now, very occasionally, is used. To nail makaton would be the icing on the cake for me but for now, PECS does us just fine. I'm just so pleased that he is now able to have a form of communication with people, regardless of it's limitations!! 

Rock on Fin.



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