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is the Acronym of Communication System through Image Exchange. It is one of the strategies used in the context of Alternative Augmentative Communication, but has specificity for children with autism spectrum disorder.

The introduction of an alternative augmentative communication system allows a functional communication on the part of the child with difficulty, with positive repercussions in different areas of development: communication, social interaction, with a diminishing effect on problematic behaviours.

It is based on the use of reinforcements (elements capable of modifying the frequency of a behavior), prompting (in particular, using visual and physical prompts), fading out (initially introducing many aids which are then gradually extinguished).

It aims to develop functional communication and communication as a social exchange, through small-step learning that includes six phases.

Phase: objective

FIRST PHASE: Guided physical Exchange.

      Simple image exchange with object;


SECOND STAGE: Increase spontaneity.

The child learns to:

- Go to the book for communication;

- Remove the symbol card;

- Go to the interlocutor and leave the symbol-card in his hand;

THIRD STAGE: Discrimination of the symbol.

The child learns to discriminate between visual stimuli and to express a choice;

FOURTH STAGE: Construction of the sentence.

The child learns to construct simple sentences with the symbol cards, composed of "I want" + the object of interest;


The child learns to answer the question "What do you want?”

SIX STAGE: Make a comment.

Learn to comment in response to the solicitation of the partner and spontaneously.

The general objective is to encourage spontaneity and the child's initiative in communication.

They can learn the exchange system for images parents, educators, teachers, therapists and people who revolve around the child. The PECS can and must be applied in all life contexts and is aimed at functional communication.


We use it when we teach something new; and when the child / boy does not respond to the given instruction, or when he is able to do what is required, he does not do it

Suggestion or prompt types:

1) VERBAL: Verbal instructions

2) IMITATION: imitative (modeling)

3) PHYSICAL: Physical guide (partial or total)

4) ENVIRONMENTAL: Suggestions linked to the stimulus: indication; position; redundancy (e.g. leave a box in plain sight where to store games)


Provide physical, imitative facilities through a modeling action or gestures to facilitate and achieve desired behavior