Joshua’s communication journey

exemplar wheel

Student background

Student Joshua
Age 5
School Primary

Joshua loves Thomas the Tank Engine and music.

Joshua is a student in a special education needs setting. He used to let people know what he wanted by pulling people to the object or activity.

Now with the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and music, Joshua’s communication has taken off in leaps and bounds.

“Visuals” – picture cards used to assist students to understand class, home, and community environments, and for communication – are used in a variety of ways, such as daily schedules, behaviour supports, and choice boards.

PECS is a unique augmentative/alternative communication system that allows children and adults with autism and other communication deficits to initiate communication. PECS begins with teaching a student to exchange a picture of a desired item with an adult, who immediately honours the request. It then follows a sequence of phases where the system goes on to teach discrimination of symbols and then puts them together in simple “sentences”. The student is also taught to comment on and answer direct questions.