Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PECS 101: Binder and Penny Board Reward System

This post is a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) 101.  I am definitely not an expert on PECS yet, but I had a wonderful supervisor last semester who got me started with my very own PECS binder, so I wanted to share with all of you!  If you are new to PECS it used for kiddos who have little to no language or kids that need a high level of reinforcement for their language output.  

It begins by teaching an individual to give a picture of a desired item to their communication partner, who immediately honors the exchange as a request. The program goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how build those words into sentences. In the more advanced phases, the clients are taught to answer questions and to comment.  See their website for more information on PECS and conferences that go into detail on the program.

What you will need:
1. Binder
2. Velcro (LOTS!)
3. Cardstock (I used heavy duty file folders and cut them up)
3. Pennies
4. PECS images
5. Laminator or clear Shelf liner
6. Pencil pouch
7. Baseball card protector pages

So lets see the binder...

Inside I have a zipper pouch that holds extra Velcro, images that haven't been laminated, pens, etc. 

Next is a mini visual schedule.  It has the activities that will be worked on during therapy including the activity currently being worked on.  When the activity is finished the child moves it to the All Done pocket.  I used foam board to make it extra heavy duty.

Next I have pages of PECS images that are held in plastic baseball card sleeves.  I got my from Target in the "baseball card" section :)

Next I have a part of the binder that is for the Penny Board Reward System.  This is also a tool my supervisor gave me for rewarding my kiddos while they are in therapy.  It is a pretty simple concept.  You have ten pennies (off the board) and you reward the child by giving him/her a penny after a targeted response or even for stepping foot in the therapy room.  You decide whats appropriate.  They add the pennies to the board.  For older kids you can give a sticker/prize after ten pennies, but the little ones think building up their penny board is reward enough!  This is a quick and easy reward system and is always with you when you have your PECS binder.

Lastly every PECS binder needs an "I want...strip."  This strip is used for building three word utterances.  You can also teach the sign language to go with.  I want...sticker. This portable strip can be made for parents to stick on their fridge to alleviate difficult meal time decisions (I want goldfish) and many other places where communication is difficult. 

Now where to get your PECS images.  Most people use Boardmaker a software with TONS of great PECS images in English and Spanish.  Our clinic has one, but I know that it is pricey, so here are some FREE websites to get PECS images for your binder.  My supervisor also gave me a great packaging! When you buy a new puzzle, game, toy or cereal box save the cardboard.  You can easily cut it out and add it to your binder!  I did for the farm animal image you saw above. 

Websites for Free PECS...
Do2Learn (by far the best one I have found) (about half way down the page)
Also remember to try a google image search...often many PECS are on google.

Hope this gets you jump started on a PECS binder.  Please feel free to share how you use PECS in therapy or any ideas on what to add to my binder! And a big THANK YOU to Dana for going above and beyond your supervisor duties and helping us make these binders.  You Rock!


  1. Thank you for sharing! I just started my CFY at an elementary school and we don't have the Mayer-Johnson symbols software :(

  2. I am glad this helped! Yes the Mayer-Johnson software isn't easy to get, but it's nice to know you can get the symbols elsewhere.