Monday, March 15, 2010

Therapy tools Tuesday

Today's therapy tool will not be an instrument but an accessory that I use daily in sessions!

I work with many students who are nonverbal and use PECS to communicate. PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System.

PECS is an augmentative communication system developed to help individuals quickly acquire a functional means of communication (Bondy and Frost, 1994). PECS is appropriate for individuals who do not use speech or who may speak with limited effectiveness: those who have articulation or motor planning difficulties, limited communicative partners, lack of initiative in communication, etc.

I use several PECS pictures in sessions, such as: More/Finished, I want, key vocabulary words in songs, Yes/No, instruments, body parts,etc..

The therapy tool I wanted to share is called an acrylic frame (see picture below).

I purchased it at an office supply store for under $5. After purchasing this frame, I cut and inserted a piece of blank white paper to fill the inside with a solid color (any color would be fine). Then, I placed a strip of velcro across the front of the frame. Now my acrylic, self standing frame, was ready to go!

The acrylic frame helps me in sessions by holding (via velcro) PECS symbols at a good visual angle that is readily available for students to access. This frame could also be used as a sentence strip, where the student would complete a sentence with symbols from PECS, (such as: "I want bells." or "I want more."), or to sequence steps in order. With some students, I have also used this frame as a means to visually show them the choices they have made.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I find these acrylic frames very helpful when using PECS and other symbol systems to communicate with nonverbal learners. What other tools have you found to be helpful in sessions?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. What a neat idea, Amanda. I've read that black letters on a yellow background is the easiest color contrast for people to perceive (hence the many traffic signs making use of this color combination.

    Thanks for this cool tool!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Roia! The yellow background would give great contrast for people to see the PECS. I'll have to try that!