A few years ago, I found myself working in a classroom of students with severe special needs. We all received a wonderful training from the district Assistive Technology specialist. How many of you use the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy?
There is a ton of information on the web about PECS and the Six Phases of PECS. If you're not familiar with PECS, this page gives you a great rundown of the six phases. Today I'm going to give you a couple of tips on organizing reinforcers.
You probably are aware of the basic concepts of "Picture Exchange" - a student gives a picture in exchange for a desired object. Bondy and Frost first suggest that you find reinforcers (motivating toys/objects specific to each child). This may not be shocking, but in my reinforcer assessment, I found that most of the students in the class had similar "likes." I found myself using the same toys: pop-tubes, wind-up toys, books, squishy balls, vehicles, etc.
For easy portability, here's what I did with my reinforcers. I got a snap-top tote (this is the shoe-box size):
Filled it with my reinforcers:
And attached the picture symbols to the lid of the box with Velcro:
I made two boxes with different toys/activities so I could rotate the boxes and decrease boredom (for myself and the kids). I used a mix of Mayer Johnson PCS, Pics for PECS, and photographs. Basically, I took photographs for objects for which I couldn't find a good picture symbol.
Now you're ready to start working on Phase 1, Step 1 (Fully Assisted Exchange)! What are your thoughts on this? Would you like more information on the PECS method? If there is interest, I can start a PECS series.