By: Loryn Garver, B.A., BCaBA
PEAK (Promoting Emergence of Advanced Knowledge) is an evidence-based assessment and corresponding curriculum that combines the traditional ABA verbal behavior approach with the science of Derived Relational Responding, which teaches the ability to make relations between concepts. Improving the ability to make relations helps children to acquire skills they were never directly taught to them, which can reduce the amount of time the child needs ABA therapy. It also helps with teaching problem solving skills, advanced language skills, and reduces rote/memorized speech which is a common criticism of the traditional ABA approach. Another benefit of PEAK is that it teaches skills that are appropriate for children of all ages whereas the VB-MAPP contains milestones that only go up to age 4.
PEAK includes four different modules that expand far past the skills taught in the VB-MAPP and ABLLS-R:
Direct Training: This module has many of the skills included in the VB-MAPP (requesting, labeling, imitation, etc.). In this module, the child is taught skills using prompting and positive reinforcement.
Generalization: This module also works on teaching skills using positive reinforcement and prompting, but the focus is on teaching children to generalize their skills to things they were not taught. For example, if taught that navy blue and light blue are both blue, the child should be able to answer “blue” when shown royal blue, even though it was never taught. Common Core standards are interspersed throughout the Generalization Module.
Equivalence: This module focuses on teaching the children to derive skills from other skills they have been taught. For example, if the child is taught to respond with “Woof” when asked, “What does a dog say?” when asked, “What says woof?” the child should respond with “Dog.”
Transformation: This module works on teaching the child how things are related to each other (e.g., opposites, different, same, etc.). It also works on perspective taking skills that are critical to learning social skills.
Following an assessment, age-norms are provided for two of the four modules (Direct Training and Generalization), which compare the child’s skillset to typically developing peers. The deviation in score aids in justifying therapy hours to insurance companies. Age norms for the other modules are currently being researched.
Combined, the four modules of PEAK provide a comprehensive and individualized curriculum that can help the child acquire new skills and learn the important ability to make relations that can be applied to a variety of scenarios encountered throughout life.
If you feel as though your child would benefit from PEAK, call to schedule an assessment at 813-814-2000.