1. Who should attend? 
Professionals, including teachers and other education professionals, speech and language therapists, psychologists, programme managers, care workers, foster carers & ABA therapists. The workshop is also suitable for family members such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings.

2. Little introduction of PECS? 
PECS is a unique alternative/augmentative communication system developed in the USA in 1985 by Andy Bondy, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP. PECS was first implemented with pre-school students diagnosed with autism at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then, PECS has successfully been implemented worldwide with thousands of learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.

The PECS teaching protocol is based on B.F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior, and broad spectrum applied behaviour analysis. Specific prompting and reinforcement strategies that will lead to independent communication are used throughout the protocol. The protocol also includes systematic error correction procedures to promote learning if an error occurs. Verbal prompts are not used, thus building immediate initiation and avoiding prompt dependency.

PECS consists of six phases and begins by teaching an individual to give a single picture of a desired item or action to a “communicative partner” who immediately honors the exchange as a request. The system goes on to teach discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in sentences. In the more advanced phases, individuals are taught to use modifiers, answer questions and comment.

The primary goal of PECS is to teach functional communication. Research has shown that some learners using PECS also develop speech. Others may transition to a speech generating device (SGD).

3. Biography of the presenters with their pictures.

  1. Louise Maggs, BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy is Pyramid UK’s Clinical Director. Louise is qualified from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 2009 as a Speech and Language Therapist. Her background is in the provision of therapy within mainstream and special schools.When working as the sole Speech and Language Therapist in a specialist residential Autism school, Louise was able to implement PECS and the Pyramid Approach across the 24 hour curriculum. She has worked extensively with parents, teachers and care staff to support the development, and functional use of PECS for students with a range of age and ability. Louise has also undertaken further training in TEACCH, managing incidents and challenging behaviour and developing social communication skills. Louise joined Pyramid in 2013 and is especially interested in the use of technology to support communication and independence skills. Louise is currently studying for her MSc in Behaviour Analysis and Therapy, she is due to complete this in late September 2018.
  2. Andy Yates, BSc (Comb Hons) Psychology/Sociology, PGCE, QTS. Since qualifying in 1996, at Plymouth University, with a degree in psychology, Andy initially spent three years working as a Residential Social Worker. During this time he worked in a variety of settings, ranging from working with adults with mental health issues, adults with severe learning difficulties and teenagers with Aspergers Syndrome, supporting a wide range of individual needs across a 24 hr curriculum, focusing largely on developing and implementing independence skills programs.

In 2001 Andy graduated from Bath Spa University with a PGCE and spent four years working in mainstream primary schools in Bournemouth. As a KS1 teacher Andy gained invaluable experience of implementing , assessing and reviewing the national curriculum strategies and targets, alongside developing classroom management skills.

In 2005 Andy specialised in working in Special Educational Needs schools. Since then has worked with children across all key stages with a wide array of complex needs, including, PMLD, MLD, Emotional Behavioural Difficulties, and ASD. During his time working at a setting for pupils with EBD Andy became very experienced with managing challenging behaviour and has a particular interest in developing individual and classroom management techniques. Andy has undertaken further training in the implementation of Team Teach, SCIPP, and TCI crisis management techniques.Whilst working within Autism specific schools, Andy has used PECS as an integral part of teaching functional communication skills. Andy joined Pyramid in 2013 and is especially interested in promoting effective teaching practises whilst working with challenging behaviour, employing PECS as a means of developing communication skills.

4. FAQs


The information found in these 2 links should answer most people’s questions.

You’ve heard about PECS, but do you really know what it is …

Myths and Misconceptions You’ve heard about PECS, but do you really know what it is? The Myths and Misconceptions surrounding the Picture Exchange Communication