If your child is enrolled in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, they will be working on behavioral skills using a data-driven approach. Similarly, a key component of the functional and effective changes that ABA can produce are through teaching language skills, commonly referred to as verbal behavior therapy (VB).
PEAK Relational Training System is an extension of both ABA and VB; it is a comprehensive approach to verbal behavior therapy and uses contemporary assessments to help refine language skills further. If you have a child with autism and are interested in both ABA therapy and the PEAK assessment, then you’re in the right place. We’ll break down the differences, how PEAK can expand upon the fundamentals of ABA, and how you can tell whether or not it is right for your family.
What is the PEAK Relational Training System?
PEAK stands for Promoting Emergence of Advanced Knowledge, and is a combination of ABA and derived relational responding. Put more simply and with fewer acronyms, it teaches your child the ability to make relations between concepts in language. Similarly, it incorporates problem-solving skills with application to advanced language concepts, and teaches your child to rely less on memorization for a concept as dynamic as communication.
How does PEAK help?
PEAK helps our clients to develop learning skills that apply directly to an assessed portion of their behavioral skills. Once deficits are identified in focus areas, PEAK can be implemented to create a framework of teaching, developing, and reinforcing better behavior in these areas. From there, the progress of this implementation can be tracked and evaluated to be adjusted later in the PEAK training.
How does PEAK help parents?
PEAK is designed to work as an assessment tool as well as a curriculum guide. This means that a child will be exposed to direct training for skills such as foundational language, eye contact, or basic requesting, but they will also have ancillary benefits from how they learn. PEAK contains generalization and equivalence modules, which are used to teach children how to extend skills to new settings or extrapolate new concepts from the ones they learn during their PEAK framework.
Ultimately, this becomes valuable for parents because it will help shape the home environment, social environments, and create a baseline for how a family learns together. A difficult component of personal relationships with ASD children is getting them to understand outside perspectives; PEAK helps create learning opportunities to show a different view on concepts. It also creates and focuses on the nuances of communication and interactions and helps to teach novel language in novel situations
How does PEAK help teachers?
Teachers are often accountable for multiple students, frameworks, and only have a limited amount of time to connect with a student. When your child has an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, it can be difficult for them and their educators to work through differences in communication styles or properly convey proficiency in certain skills. Because PEAK is based around derived relational responding, it helps teachers relate new topics to ones that children have worked on within their PEAK framework.
Across all educational settings, PEAK works to relieve some of the workload and stress of teachers by creating a consistent baseline to refer to for each child. This is the benefit of data-driven behavioral change; there are ways to determine whether the programming is working or not.
In our experience, PEAK helps by providing a child with autism a dynamic educational foundation. The more a child is exposed to a system that enables them to engage in new concepts without having to memorize or repeat actions, the easier their future behavioral learning will be.
Application of PEAK Relational Training System
PEAK is best implemented as an advanced comprehensive verbal behavior assessment and framework. Each of the 4 PEAK modules is used to assess the presence or absence of specific skills within the program, and the last two are also designed to help evaluate abstract relational abilities.
The four separate learning modules of PEAK are:
- Direct Training: This includes foundational learning abilities such as eye contact, labeling things, early social skills, and more.
- Generalization: Generalization is designed to take basic concepts and apply them across contexts, stimuli, and people. There is a significant emphasis on reduction in script learning or memorization in this state.
- Equivalence: The formation of concepts and perceptual behaviors is emphasized to your child here. Multi-sensory experiences are often difficult for children with autism, and this module helps work on real-world functions in their presence.
- Transformation: A child will focus on learning abstract concepts, comparative skills, hierarchies, similarities, and differences in this module.
The PEAK framework is designed to have all four modules running concurrently. Your BCBA will use this to guide your child’s program and will discuss each step with you often as your child continues to master the skills.
Improve Communication Skills at Ally Pediatric Therapy
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, our goal is to provide the most modern and efficient solutions to common ASD educational issues. Our team has decades of experience in working to get families the help they need; it’s why we call ourselves Allies.
If you are interested in learning more about PEAK Relational Training System and how it can help create a brighter future for you and your child, please reach out today. One free consultation could be the first step towards a new way to learn and grow.