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PECS/Makaton/VIisual Supports

mummy1610's picture

PECS/Makaton/VIisual Supports

Sat 23 Feb 2013 3:20pm

Has anyone had much experience using PECS, Makaton or visual timetables with their little ones? I have just started using photos of familiar items with my two year old and also trying Makaton signs. Nothing is catching on at the moment but we're going to keep at it. Has anyone tried PECS or making there own visual timetable? 

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  • Mullybum's picture

    Hi, my son is 2.5 and we have been using PECS for a few months, but he has only just 'clicked' with it.  Once he'd clicked though he's come on really well with it. It's certainly not a quick process but definitely worth persevering with.  Are you using the two people approach where one holds the object and the other helps the child to pick up and pass the card?

    We tried makaton but as my son wouldn't look as I did the signs it didn't work for us at all so we just stuck to the PECS.

  • mummy1610's picture

    Thanks for your reply. I have sent you a private message to chat further. Did you buy the PECS cards through there website? 

  • JosieB's picture

    Hi Mummy1610

    There are a few different websites to download PECS from which are free.    Do2learn seems to be a very popular one.  You can find it here:

    Its also sometimes helpful to do what you have done and actually photograph items that are really familiar to your son.   My son is 17 now but I found visual timetables really helpful and always made my own.

    Josie - Community Champion
  • nquick's picture

    Hi Mummy1610, my sons nursery started using pecs cards, it really helped him and they encouraged me to do the same. We took photos of things and printed them out and laminated them (or could use photo paper) he doesn't like to use them at home for a timeline like he does at nursery but he does get the picture of what he wants when he cant tell me. (he's nearly 3 by the way) xx

  • mummy1610's picture

    Thanks for your reply nquick. I will check out that website Josie.   

  • Hayles's picture

    Hi Mummy1610, 

    We use a Visual timetable which my Husband made. Its magnetic & shows the Day & then we have magnets which we use on there. On the magnets are all the things my son, I or Hubs does in a day & we place them out for him to see what & when will be happening through the day. It works wonders for us & we have clocks showing time on it to. 

    We have found Visual aids, have really worked for our son. We have sticker charts which our son chooses, so Doctor who charts, Timmy the Sheep charts. We make everything Personal to our son. 

    Hayles x

  • Leanne's picture


    My 11 yr old was non verbal until he was 5, prior to using pecs he would make his needs and wants known by screaming shouting and by grabbing and pulling us to what he wanted.

    It took a while for him to use pecs purely because he found his method easier but once he saw the point in putting in the effort there was no going back. Much to our SALTs annoyance we adapted pecs to work for us, Initially I would put the most popular cards on the top of the binder and when I knew he wanted something like a drink or dvd I would gesture to the appropriate card and then quickly sit on my hands so he couldnt lead me.. once he chose the card I would give lots of praise etc.

    Personally I wouldnt worry about getting certain images dowloaded, I was told they all had to be the same style to work.. not the case for my son, he would point to images in books or catalogues anywhere really bless him. we bought a laminator and double sided velcro and made our own.

    He really took to the brainy baby dvds, they helped him hugely.. again much to the SALTs annoyance Smile

    He is now very verbal, not age appropriate but enough to argue lol

  • polarbear's picture

    hi,i agree with leanne. alex is 4 and we have used pecs since he was 2.8 .at first alex resisted as he was so use to pulling and pushing to get his way biy we persisted and eventually he got it. we also adjusted pecs to suit alex and he tecognised puctures in books and on walls. although he is still at a two/three word level he is a much happier kid because of it. it has cut down on alot of his frustrations. he is also learned all our families names by looking at photos. it is so worth it to use pecs.xx

  • connieapmag's picture

    Hi Mummy1610,

    A nonverbal child can use a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to communicate his/her needs.

    Visual supports are non-verbal ways for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to communicate their needs and make sense of the world around them. Children with autism benefit from using visual supports for a variety of reasons.

    A child who benefits from routine and knowing the order of the day might use a visual calendar or schedule to familiarize himself/herself with upcoming events. A child who struggles with transitions such as leaving his/her home and getting on the school bus or tidying up toys might find pictures illustrating the appropriate steps helpful.

    Visual supports can help children with autism find effective ways to communicate using visuals rather than auditory information. Most children with ASD are visual learners. The University of New Mexico’s Center for Development and Disability says “Using visual information to communicate with your child is taking advantage of how children with ASD naturally prefer to communicate and can reduce their frustration.”

    The Center also notes that processing language quickly can be difficult for children with ASD and is why many parents find themselves repeating the same information over and over, “However, when you present information visually it can be there for as long as the child needs it.” (Visual Supports for Children with ASD).

    Learn more about the benefits of visual supports for children with autism here:

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