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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #502
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding the Summit: Advancements in PEAK Relational Training System Applications
Monday, May 25, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
Area: VRB/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Ryan C. Speelman (Pittsburg State University)
CE Instructor: Ryan C. Speelman, Ph.D.

The current symposium is a synthesis of efforts at various points in the Relational Training System assessment and curriculum. The first talk provides a conceptualization as to how we might make better-informed decisions relative to program selection and intervention approaches in the context of PEAK using a case conceptualization tool. The second talk investigates relationships between derived relational responding and executive processing deficits in children. Finally, we highlight pre-post change scores relative to the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment for children diagnosed with autism given exposure to PEAK in a special education context. Implications and utility of these findings are discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): DRR, PEAK, RFT
Target Audience:

beginning-intermediate behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: Describe how single-case experimental designs can be embedded within applied work. Discuss the relationship between derived relational responding and executive processing deficits in children Define a case conceptualization model to increase implementer self-efficacy during PEAK.

Pre-Post PEAK-CA Changes Following Three Months of Instruction in a Special Education Setting

(Applied Research)
LINDSEY DENNIS (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

The PEAK Relational Training System contains a comprehensive assessment and curriculum designed to target global language and cognitive skills in children with autism and related disabilities. Although research on PEAK has grown considerably, more research is needed within applied contexts in which this tool is likely to be utilized. We conducted PEAK at a special education school over the course of 3 months with 5 children with autism. PEAK instructions was systematically embedded within their school day for up-to 2 hours, supplementing other instructional strategies. The efficacy of PEAK instruction was evaluated using a multiple baseline across skills experimental design, replicated across the 5 children. We overview how this design can be embedded within any applied setting, allowing for the on-going experimental analysis of behavior within sacrificing assurance that children are receiving on-going effective education. In addition, we conducted the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment at the onset of the study and following 3 moths of training, where the PCA provides an estimate of global repertiores across direct training, generalization, equivalence, and relational learning skill sets. Results suggested a significant increase in PCA scores across all participants.


Executive Functioning and Construct Validity of the PEAK-CA

(Applied Research)
TAYLOR MARIE LAUER (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

Advances in Relational Frame Theory have begun to allow Applied Behavior Analytic treatments for children with autism to focus on higher-order or global repertiores of behavior. Executive functioning deficits are common in children with autism that can severely impact quality of life in several domains. We review three studies that speak to the importance of targeting executive functioning deficits in children with autism using relational training and testing procedure. The first study provides a comprehensive literature review comparing functional neurological activity when completing traditional executive functioning tasks and when deriving combinatorially entailed relations. Results suggest that common neurological processes are involved in the completion of both tasks. The second study provides another systematic review that shows an exponentiation of research utilizing derived relational responding technologies to teach new skills to children with autism within the major behavior analytic journals. The third study empirically evaluates the construct validity of the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment (PCA) as a tool to measure verbal operants and relational operants that may be related to executive functioning processes. Convergent and divergent components of the PCA are discussed in the context of developing treatments for children with autism from a Relational Frame Theory account.


PEAK Case Conceptualization Tool

(Applied Research)
MARY GRACE CAVALIERE (Saint Louis University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University), Keyana Cooke (Saint Louis University)

Promoting Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) is a four-volume curriculum targeting Direct Training, Generalization, Equivalence, and Transformation. Research to date has shown behavioral skills training (BST) to be effective at training staff to implement PEAK. While timely, little is known about the extent to which staff’s self-efficacy (or verbal behavior about one’s competency) influences implementation of PEAK. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to determine if a thorough case conceptualization model (CCM) can increase implementer self-efficacy. The CCM was developed to establish problem solving opportunities for implementers and supervisors to use during feedback sessions. Three implementer-child dyads were subjected to a multiple-baseline design wherein implementers were first trained how to implement PEAK before starting treatment as usual (baseline). Next, participants were handed the CCM tool during the instruction phase but were not given any specific feedback on how to use it. Finally, during the feedback phase, all implementers were instructed on how to use the CCM and how to derive feedback from it. Throughout all phases, client PEAK scores, implementation scores from staff, and self-reported self-efficacy Likert rating scale was assessed. Overall, all participants showed increase self-efficacy scores following CCM feedback. Implications will be discussed.




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