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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #307
CE Offered: BACB
Empirical Evidence of Treatment Outcomes from All Four Modules of the PEAK relational training system
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
217A (CC)
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)
Discussant: Seth W. Whiting (Yale University)
CE Instructor: Jacob H. Daar, M.A.
Abstract: Behavior analytic language instruction for children with a diagnosis of autism has traditionally focused on the reinforcement of psycholinguistic (expressive vs. receptive) targets or elementary verbal operants such as mands, tacts, echoics, and intraverbals. While generally successful in establishing functional repertoires of basic communication, therapies targeting these basic language units often fail to provide adequate learning histories necessary to achieve flexible and generative language use. One reason for this deficit may be due to the over-emphasis of direct training contingencies across a limited range of verbal skills and the lack of explicit generalization goals within language repertoires. Furthermore, methods to produce stimulus equivalence that promote the emergence of symbolic and generative language have remained virtually unincorporated in behavior analysis’s most popular language curriculums. In an effort to address these issues, the PEAK Relational Training System was developed. PEAK is a verbal behavior and academic curriculum designed to emphasize learning through direct contingencies, generalization learning, stimulus equivalence, and relational responding. The current presentations will present field research collected on each of these learning modalities as described in the PEAK curriculum and discuss the importance of incorporating these types of contemporary behavior analytic concepts into current verbal behavior therapy treatment programs.
Keyword(s): Autism, Language Acquisition, PEAK, Verbal Behavior
Direct Training Module: Evaluating the Efficacy of the PEAK Relational Training System using a Randomized Treatment/Control Design of Children with Autism
AUTUMN N. MCKEEL (Aurora University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University ), Kyle Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: The present investigation sought to examine the efficacy of the instructional curriculum described in the Direct Training Module of the PEAK Relational Training System on the language repertoires, as measured by the PEAK Direct Assessment, of children diagnosed with autism or related developmental disabilities. Twenty-seven children diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders were evaluated using the protocol Direct Assessment prior assignment to a control and experimental group. Participants in the experimental group received additional language instruction derived from the curriculum programs of the Direct Training Module while participants in the control group received treatment as usual. Both groups were then re-assessed using the PEAK Direct Assessment after 1 month. A repeated-measures ANOVA indicated that participants in the experimental group made significantly more gains in language skills than those who were assigned to the control group, F(1, 25) = 11.394, p = .002. Implications for evidence-based practice and future research are discussed.
Generalization Module: How PEAK Assesses and Promotes the Emergence of Untrained Verbal Behavior
JORDAN BELISLE (Southern Illinois University), Kyle Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Caleb Stanley (The University of Mississippi), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University ), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) is an approach to language development that synthesizes our current understanding of complex verbal behavior. The PEAK-Generalization (PEAK-G) module is the second iteration of PEAK, which is designed to promote the emergence of a generalized verbal repertoire in individuals with- or without- disabilities. Psychometric data suggest that PEAK-G is a valid and reliable measure of an individual’s generalized verbal repertoire, and that generalization is a learning modality that interacts with direct training systematically. Participant scores on PEAK-G have been shown to predict intelligence and autism severity, and normalization of the PEAK-G provides a comparative tool for clinicians working with individuals with disabilities. Outcome data at the single-subject level suggest that the PEAK-G curriculum is effective in training simple and complex verbal behaviors, as well as in promoting the systematic emergence of untrained verbal responding. The existing data have several implications for our understanding of verbal generalization as a learning process, and provide avenues for future research.
Equivalence Module: Using the PEAK To Promote Equivalence Responding
KYLE ROWSEY (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University ), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Stephanie Negrelli (student), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Over the last few decades, advancements in behavior analysts' understanding of learning and language have led to new methodologies which may increase the efficiency with which education is delivered. One such advancement is stimulus equivalence which utilizes training procedures that promote the derivation of skills without direct training. While the effectiveness of stimulus equivalence is well supported within the literature, no packaged treatment or assessment protocols have been researched within the field of behavior analysis. The Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) is one such package. The PEAK is an assessment and curriculum protocol which utilizes behavior analytic principles to train academic, language, and social skills. The PEAK incorporates basic behavior analytic research including Skinner's Verbal Behavior as well as contemporary behavior analytic principles such as stimulus equivalence and Relational Frame Theory. The current study sought to investigate the effectiveness of the PEAK: Stimulus Equivalence Module in training novel skills to individuals with disabilities. The results indicated gains in all skills taught using stimulus equivalence procedures from the PEAK.
Transformation Module: Incorporating Relational Frame Theory into skills training using the PEAK Relational Training System
JACOB H. DAAR (Southern Illinois University ), Kyle Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Since its inception, practitioners of behavior analysis have striven to understand all aspects of human behavior. One of the more daunting tasks has been the study one particular area of the complex human repertoire: verbal behavior. While some progress has been made in this area, research on the application of behavior analytic techniques to both understand and teach verbal behavior in applied settings remain lacking. One contemporary approach, Relational Frame Theory (RFT), provides a promising base for launching behavior analysis into a greater understanding of both the theory and practice of teaching and understanding verbal behavior. The current study sought to extend the applied research on RFT incorporating programs from the PEAK Relational Training System: Transformation Module (PEAK). Several advanced language skills were taught to individuals with autism supporting the utility of RFT as a basis for training procedures as well as the effectiveness of the PEAK in training skills to individuals with autism. Data collected in the course of training derived relational responding will be presented along with discussion concerning the methodological and logistical aspects of teaching such complex language.



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