Picture Symbols

Communicating with Symbols


     Autism is a disability that impacts communication, socialization and behavior. Symbols and symbolic languages can be used as an alternative method of communication.


PCS AND PECS What's the difference?

PCS are picture communication symbols
PECS is a formalized program for using symbol supports for communication.


    Picture  communication symbols (PCS) are designed to convey a particular meaning, not just an object. Messages can be presented and generated through different types of  media such as individual cards, paper charts and communication boards, computer display programs and voice output devices. Using these tools can allow an individual to express themselves with more complex types of communication and can allow them to interact easily.


The following are links to sites where symbols can be downloaded free.





Picto Selector




Created by Martijn van der Kooij, Picto Selector, a freeware Windows application, is a software to create commuincation/schedule  boardsand adapted stories. It has a searchable database of over 23000 symbols.This software also allows you to export and import custom pictures .







 This link leads to the trainland website’s PECS resource page. According to the websites author she is like me a parent who has been there, done that and still doing it. This site is a treasure trove of over 2,700 working links on everything autism.  The PECS Page has hundreds of symbols you can download (some PCS and some photograph) as well as links to many other sites that have symbols that can be downloaded and used for communication. This site is a must see!



Children with Special Needs :


 This site had several pages of pictures that can be downloaded printed and used to help get you started implementing the picture exchange communication system








This site has black and white picture cards such as the one pictured above, to help individuals to make schedules, story strips and PECS cards. They can be printed as full-size coloring pages, in  one and two-inch sizes with or without words. Printed and cut out, these can be used singly or grouped together. Blank image grids in one-inch and two-inch sizes are included for making custom drawings.  A selection of blank schedule forms are provided on this site to allow for creation of customized schedule boards. (Picture cards can be cut up and attached to the blank forms.)









      This is a large collection of downloadable visual supports that can be printed and used for receptive and expressive communication in any environment. It has a searchable database of picture communication supports for all different areas of life; school, home and community. The two photos above are pictures of materials I downloaded from this site. The mood thermometer can be used to help a child to express how they are feeling. This may help teach them to express their moods in a more socially appropriate way, to teach self regulatory behavior or to help them understand the moods of others.

    The other picture shows a folder game that I printed to teach a child to categorize common items such as food and clothing. Many good ideas and examples on this site!





Boardmaker Share



This is the “official” Boardmaker share site. Access to Boardmaker software needed to print many of these. Hundreds of topics are available.

To try Boardmaker free for 30 days, it can be downloaded from: http://www.mayer-johnson.com/downloads/trials/





ABA Resources



Many free downloadable resources that can be used to build language and skills. Sample drills and information on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program are also on this sight.







Quick Pics




QuickPics is a FREE software program to develop communication and language boards for your child at home. This allows you to make communication boards and activities that meet the specific needs of your child. The program has colorful and engaging graphics included. Other Pictures may also be imported making it easy to customize for your child.



Visual Aids for Learning




This site provides many free printable visual resources. The files are all in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) File format and can be printed from MAC or Windows computers.

There are complete files sets for school, toileting, home and adolescents