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Toddler speech therapy professionals who are working to help youngsters with basic speech, language development and vocabulary building may rely on PECS for assistance. PECS is short for “Picture Exchange Communication System.”
This set of speech therapy activities was the brain child of Andy Bondy and Lori Frost. PECS is used primarily by speech therapists treating children who fall into the autism spectrum; concurrently, it is easily – and effectively – adaptable to children outside the spectrum as well.
The Pyramid Educational Consultants site(1) is devoted to explaining the use of PECS during toddler speech therapy activities and offers a wide array of tips and tricks. Newcomers to the field of at-home speech therapy for toddlers will do well to read up on various approaches and anticipated learning curves and benchmarks.
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Why Adapt PECS Speech Therapy Activities?
Toddler speech therapy activities are not for everyone. Parents of toddlers may wish for the tools of speech therapy when it comes to helping their youngsters communicate better. That being said, quite frequently these children are on track in their speech, language and vocabulary development and do not need the intervention of a speech therapist.
Even so, there is no reason that some speech therapy tools -- most notably PECS -- could not be adapted for in home or daycare use. This places at-home speech therapy for toddlers into the realm of possible activities for a well-defined daycare curriculum and other early childhood education venues.
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Nuts and Bolts of PECS Speech Therapy
PECS relies on pictures for communication initiation, but daycare operators could employ it to help children, who are thus far non-verbal or only partially able to express themselves. Such use would provide the child with a secondary means of interaction. For example, a picture of a steaming bowl of spaghetti may be the visual means by which a toddler can effectively communicate to a caregiver that s/he prefers spaghetti over hot dogs for dinner - well before being able to verbalize either.
It is noteworthy that not only parents and daycare providers are looking to toddler speech therapy activities for inspiration. Educators may also find uses for it in the classroom, especially for students with special needs.
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Speech Therapy versus Adapted Toddler Speech Therapy Activities
It is important to remember that adapted toddler speech therapy activities are not synonymous with actual speech therapy. Moreover, the intent of PECS and the at-home adaptation do not necessarily lead to the same results. Parents and daycare providers of children who use adapted speech therapy tools must be clear in their understanding of the differentiation.
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Pyramid Educational Consultants: http://www.pecs-usa.com/