PECS Board @ Middlesex Public Library

PECS Board @ Middlesex Public Library

The Middlesex Public Library is thrilled to announce the installment of a PECS Board to assist in nonverbal communication among patrons, staff, and visitors of all ages!

PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System, and is a series of standardized pictures of different people, places, things, actions, phrases, and ideas, to be used for nonverbal communication. Since its inception in 1985 for original usage with nonverbal preschool children diagnosed with Autism, PECS has been implemented worldwide for millions of users to communicate without the reliance on verbal/spoken or written communication. PECS carries on way past school age years as well—all ages and abilities, adults and children, in a variety of facilities rely on PECS usage for communication.

The PECS system can be used on augmented communication devices (like an iPad) or via a board or physical flashcards/pictures. To communicate, the user can point to a picture/card, or a series of pictures/cards, to express an answer, thought, or idea. The illustrations are simplistic, uncomplicated and minimally colored basic line drawings. Almost every school or facility that employs the PECS system draws from the same bank of millions of pictures, so that the communication is standardized and understood across all abilities and languages.

PECS Board @ Middlesex Public Library

Library Director Chrissy George is passionate about communication and accessibility in the Library. “I saw a PECS board in a park near my town,” she explained. “I thought; why not bring this to a Library? Honestly—this could be anywhere and it would give so much voice to nonverbal communicators everywhere.”

Director George investigated different companies that offer PECS boards and decided that Talk to Me Technologies was the most cost effective route. “It was so inexpensive and quick, from start to finish, to get the vinyl poster customized to what we wanted in the Library. TTM Technologies was fantastic in providing a bank of familiar PECS for Library and classroom activities.”

Sizes, mounting options, and other options are offered to customize the Board to your needs. “Our Board was extremely cost effective,” informs Director George. “Like, staggeringly inexpensive compared to the huge impact it has had on our community so far.”

The PECS board is located by the patron computers in the general area of the Library, and signs are placed around the Library to encourage others of the additional communication availability. The PECS board at the Middlesex Public Library includes English and Spanish words and ideas primarily found in classroom and other learning settings, as well as a social story for users to help explain how and why they use a PECS board to others.

After introducing the PECS board on social media, Middlesex patrons gave overwhelming support to the initiative. Comments included:
“We have used PECS at home! Love to see these in the library!”
“SO inclusive! Love it!”
“This makes me and my family feel so welcomed and comfortable at the library!”

Director George and staff are so pleased at how large an impact this small financial investment has had on the community. “My daughter is nonverbal, and relies on PECS when she can’t find her words,” says Director George. “I would love to see more libraries bring something like this to their facilities. Every user deserves their own voice. Libraries are for everyone, and so is communication.”

Anyone with questions about the PECS board at Middlesex Public Library can reach Chrissy George for more information!

Our thanks to Middlesex Public Library for sharing their project with us!
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