The Six Phases of PECS


Phase One-  The Physical Exchange

Objective:  Upon seeing a "highly preferred" item, the student will pick up a picture of the item, reach toward the trainer, and release the picture into the trainer's hand.

First conduct a reinforcer assessment-  What student likes to eat, drink, activities, social games, places, people, free time activities

1.  Fully Assisted Exchange

2.  Fade Physical Assistance

3.  Fade the Open Hand Cue


Phase Two- Expanding Spontaneity

Objective:  The student goes to his/her communication board, pulls the picture off, goes to the adult, and releases the picture into the adult's hand.

1.  Remove Picture From Communication Board

2.  Increase Distance Between Trainer and Student

3.  Increase Distance Between Student and Picture


Phase Three-  Picture Discrimination

Objective: The student will request desired items by going to a communication board, selecting the appropriate picture from an array, going to a communication partner and giving the picture.

1.  Discrimination

2.  Correspondence Checks

3.  Reduced Picture Size


Phase Four-  Sentence Structure

Objective: The student requests present and non present items using a multi word phrase by going to the book, picking up a picture of "I want," putting it on a sentence strip, picking out the picture of what is wanted, putting it on the sentence strip, removing the strip from the communication board, approaching the communicative partner, and giving the sentence strip to him/her. 

1.  Stationary "I want" picture.

2.  Moving the "I want" picture

3.  Referents not in sight.


Phase Five- Responding to "What do you want?"

Objective:  The student can spontaneously request a variety of items and can answer the question, "What do you want?"

1.  Zero second delay

2.  Increasing delay interval

3.  No pointing cue.


Phase Six-  Responsive and Spontaneous Commenting

Objective:  The student appropriately answers "What do you want?"  "What do you see?"  "What do you have?"  and similar questions.

1.  What do you see?

2.  What do you see? vs. What do you want?

3.  What do you have?

4.  What do you see?  vs. What do you want?  vs. What do you have?

5.  Additional questions

6.  Spontaneous requesting