Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #248
CE Offered: BACB
Emerging Reliability and Validity Properties of the PEAK Relational Training System
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom F
Area: AUT/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mariah Patz (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Seth W. Whiting (Central Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Brooke Diane Walker, M.S.

Traditional applied behavior analytic treatment options for individuals with autism have been empirically supported and implemented in clinical practice for many years. The impact of these treatments have been pivotal for reducing challenging behavior and increasing skill repertoires for individuals with autism. Although these traditional methods have provided significant change for many people, as a science we must continue to explore new technologies and improve methodologies for teaching new skills and complex repertoires. One of these new technologies includes the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK), which is comprised of four assessment and curriculum modules that range from traditional verbal behavior to teaching complex relational skills through relational training. The current symposium will explore how the PEAK Relational Training System promotes relational learning and how these skills are correlated with measures of intelligence, executive functioning, challenging behavior, and other verbal assessments. Construct validity will also be examined for newly released PEAK pre-assessments. Additionally, samples of how the skills in the PEAK system align with normative age groups will be examined.The implications of these psychometric properties and relational responding for the treatment of individuals with autism will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): PEAK, Relational Training
Target Audience:

Clinicians, ABA Therapists, BCBA's, RBTS, Students of Behavior Analysis

An Updated Analysis of the Reliability, Validity, and Effectiveness of the PEAK Relational Training System: Relationships to Intelligence, Executive Functioning, and Internal Construct Validity
BECKY BARRON (Southern Illinois University), Dana Paliliunas (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The PEAK Relational Training System is an assessment and curriculum guide that targets language and cognitive skills for children with autism and other disabilities. These assessments and curriculum programs target skills through four types of training: Direct training, promoting generalization, equivalence-based training, and relational training. Between 2014 and 2016, four modules were released and were quickly picked up by parents, teachers, and clinicians. The purpose of the current presentation is to provide an up-to-date analysis of the reliability, validity, and overall effectiveness of this system. Correlations between the PEAK assessments and other common assessments of intelligence, executive functioning, basic learning concepts, challenging behavior, and other verbal behavior assessments suggest that PEAK is a reliable and predictable measure in relationship to these other assessments. Construct validity of the assessments will be discussed when comparing parent and clinician indirect reports to direct assessment of children’s skills. Finally, the effectiveness of PEAK as it relates to improvements in intelligence scores will also be discussed.

The Relationship Between the PEAK Direct Training Pre-Assessment and Indirect Assessment and Implications for Clinical Practice

Hayden Rizer (The University of Southern Mississippi), Laura-Katherine K Barker (The University of Southern Mississippi ), Robyn Brewer (The University of Southern Mississippi), Breanna Newborne (The University of Southern Mississippi), Madeline Potter (The University of Southern Mississippi), JAMES MOORE (The University of Southern Mississippi; Canopy Children's Solutions)

When considering evidence-based treatments for clients, it is imperative for practitioners to research the validity of any assessments used. Utilizing assessment tools that are empirically supported and thoroughly researched aid practitioners in delivering effective and efficient interventions. The purpose of the present study was to examine the assessment components in the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) Relational Training System Direct Training Module for children with autism. Research is warranted on the psychometric properties of the PEAK DT module assessments to ensure practitioners have an accurate depiction of the utility of the indirect and pre-assessment packages, and their respective agreeance with direct assessment scores. With a better understanding of the statistical relations between factor scores, our field as a science can benefit by ensuring that we are administering assessments that best serve our clients, in addition to bridging communication gaps between applied behavior analysis and other scientific communities. Assessments were completed for 30 children with autism, with parents having completed indirect assessments, and pre-assessment and direct assessment packages completed in a clinical setting, and agreement was calculated across each PEAK DT Factor. Results indicate that the PEAK DT Preassessment yields moderate agreement with the PEAK DT Indirect completed by parents, and that the Preassessment appears to predict performance on the Direct Assessment module. IOA was collected across 40% of sessions and averaged 95%.


Assessing Performance on the PEAK Equivalence Module Pre-Assessment in a Normative Sample and a Sample of Children With Autism

KYLE E. ROWSEY (University of Southern Mississippi), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University)

Given the rising number of individuals diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities or intellectual impairments, it is imperative that treatment address the behavioral deficits and excesses associated with these individuals' diagnoses. While treating these issues is of utmost importance, we also need to find effective, and efficient, empirically-based treatments. One method of potentially increasing the efficiency of training is to use derived relational responding to facilitate the acquisition of targeted skills. The current studies seek to assess how a sample of typically developing individuals compare to a sample of individuals with autism on a behavior analytic assessment: The PEAK Equivalence Module. (PEAK-E; Dixon, 2015). Two experiments were conducted to assess the performance of these individuals on the PEAK-E. The results of their performance were then analyzed to determine at what age various skills assessed by the PEAK-E Pre-Assessment might be expected to emerge in a typically developing population, and how the results of the PEAK-E Pre-Assessment with individuals with autism relate to the results of their typically developing peers. The results and implications of these findings will be discussed.

An Investigation of the Validity of PEAK Transformation: An Assessment of Relational Responding, Normative Sampling, and IQ
BROOKE DIANE WALKER (Invo-Progressus Therapy), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Assessing higher-level verbal repertoires of individuals with autism and related intellectual disabilities is crucial due to the language and cognitive deficits experienced by this population as well as is the need for valid assessment tools for data-driven and individualized treatment. In addition to, curricula or instructional protocols that produce changes toward improvement of language and cognitive skills are vital to the overall well being of these individuals. Several assessments and instructional guides are available to behavior analysts however few have demonstrated evidence of validity, reliability, and/or utility in its effectiveness in producing causal changes in higher-level cognition and adaptive ability. The presentation will present correlational data between PEAK-T with IQ (WISC-V) as well as provide preliminary normative sample data of PEAK-T-PA with neurotypical children.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh