Tag Archives: free printable PECS

PECs – Photos, Picture Symbols, or Both?

When I first entertained the idea of intergrating PECs (picture cards) into Noah’s communication strategies, it made sense to me to use real photos.  I mean, if I want Noah to know what something is, it just makes sense for him to learn it through a photo of the actual object versus a drawing or symbol of the same object.

Ah, but that was before I read up on Picture Exchange Communication Symbols and realized there is a well-developed train of thought behind using drawings or symbols versus photos.

If you think about it, words are really “symbols” or  representations of an object.  The word is not really the object, it’s just a combination of letters that we learn represents the named object.

Photos are the very easiest way for a child to recognize an object (other than looking at the actual object).  A photograph is a representation, a “symbol” of the actual object.  Photos and real objects are closely linked.   The relationship between the object and a drawing of the object is a little more abstract.  A black and white symbol that represents the object is even more of a distant relationship, and the actual spoken word is the most distant relationship from the object.  When we use PECS, PECs or picture cards (or any other way you want to label them), we are trying to inch closer and closer to recognizing the relationship between words and objects.

Depending on your child’s language or speech issue, you and your child’s speech therapist should carefully consider which symbols – photos or pictures – best support the spoken word/object relationship  to your child.

These days I’m finding that Noah’s understanding of words leaves his ability to communicate those words in the dust.  I dedicate most of my time with him to supporting his speech efforts, but I don’t want to neglect his acquisition of vocabulary, and I definately want to make sure that he knows what each object actually looks like versus just what an illustrated representation of that object looks like.

That’s what today’s freebie is all about.  I’ve taken some of the key words out of How Will We Get to the Beach by Brigitte Luciani and made a matching worksheet out of them.  Whether your child is familiar with the book or not, this matching exercise reinforces the idea that drawings of objects and pictures of objects both can represent the same word.  Simply print off the worksheet, laminate it if you want to reuse it at a later date, and have your child draw lines to match each drawing to it’s corresponding photo.  If your child is not familiar with these types of activities, draw dotted lines to match the objects and have your child trace your lines.  After a couple times tracing the lines, see if your child can draw the lines on his own accompanied by your prompting.  Remember, our goal is success – and it’s our job to give our children all the support they need to be successful.

Mystery Bag – Using Touch to Identify Objects

The idea for a mystery bag activity has been on my mind since Noah (6 – with Down syndrome) played a game similar to Ned’s Head in speech therapy a few months back.  You know how those ideas get planted, you sit, you watch, and you say I could do that!

The concept for this game is you stick your hand into the bag (or stocking) and identify what you are pulling out before you pull it out, or you put your hand into the bag trying to pull out a particular item.


I was planning on using a pillowcase or paper sack, but when I saw this Christmas stocking pin, http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305531199323/ from the original blog post at  http://littlewondersdays.blogspot.com/2010/12/whats-in-stocking.html,I decided I liked the stocking idea way better.

I wanted to use this to practice vocabulary with Noah, so I made up a bunch of PECs to go along with unique items that would fit into the stocking.  I came up with three pages worth, so even if you don’t have everything, you can pick and choose which ones you want to use.  You’ll find the free printable cards in PDF format here:  Mystery Bag.

Thanks to www.mrsriley.com for giving me such an easy way to make these cards.  For www.mrsriley.com members, you can find my fully editable file here:  http://mrsriley.com/app/#fileID=61953.

I just stacked the cards right-side down and let him take one from the top of the pile, insert hand into filled stocking, pull out matching object, wallah.

(By the way, I’m experimenting with auditory bombardment, which is basically reading a list of target words while your child is sitting passively.  In many circles it’s not considered productive, but I’m operating on the assumption that Noah has to hear and identify a word before he can start the motor planning process to say the word, so I want him to have as much exposure to the word as possible.  It’s an easy, fast exercise, and it can’t hurt to try something new, right?)

Anyway, back to the mystery bag.  I read through the cards and show them to Noah before he starts the game and after he finishes the game – my version of auditory bombardment.

Noah had no trouble with this the first time we played.  Granted, I only put items in the bag that were extremely different from each other.  I have to say I was impressed with how readily accessible Noah’s sense of discriminating touch was.  Makes me think sandpaper letters or something along those lines might be a way to help him with his letter recognition.

Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day.   Yuk yuk.  Very punny, as my kids would say.

Free Printable Interractive Book – Bath Time

Since I’m taking a PROMPT-induced hiatus from working on articulation with Noah, I finally have the time to make some of the materials I’ve been creating in my head. One of the things we want to make sure Noah (6 with Down syndrome) is always moving forward on is receptive language, in other words, vocabulary.

One of the skills children start to work on in kindergarten is analogies, which require an understanding between the relationships of objects. For example, bathe is to bathtub as sleep is to bed.

Here’s a free DIY PEC Book – Bath Routine that uses PECs to complete the following sentences:
I take a bath in a (bathtub).
I wash my hair with (shampoo).
I wash my body with (soap).
The bathtub is filled with (water).
I dry off with a (towel).


You’ll find in addition to the story pages and the PECs, I have also included word-only flashcards to accompany the PECs. If you are using See and Learn, Reading Language Intensive (Sue Buckley), Patricia Oelwein’s methodology as set out in Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome or another reading program that uses matching, you’ll be able to use the materials in this download using those techniques.  Make two copies of the PEC/flashcard page, and  you can use those cards to create a memory (concentration) game or to practice matching picture to picture, picture to word and word to word.

We store these stories by putting each page in a page protector and then putting them in a binder.
The bottom of the inside of the back cover of the binder has a strip of Velcro (hook side) that I lay out all the PECs on, and Noah picks the correct PEC to put in the empty box on the story page we are working on. (You’ll have to put a Velcro loop dot on the back of each PEC and a Velcro hook dot in the middle of each empty box.)

Our kiddos are so used to going with the flow, it’s easy for us to assume they have basic bath time vocabulary, but in doing this activity with Noah, I found he needed some help.   If your child doesn’t quite grasp this on the first go-round, quietly point to the correct card as you work through the book.  By the second or third go-round, they will probably be able to do it without any help at all.

Don’t forget to learn the sign language for these words.  Once you know the signs, you’ll be able to practice them over and over again as bath time seems to keep popping up.  www.lifeprint.com and www.aslpro.com are great sources for free ASL video and pictorial dictionaries.