The PEAK Relational Training System is an evaluation and curriculum guide for teaching basic and advanced language skills from a contemporary behavior analytic approach.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is well known for its functional and effective approach to teaching language skills, often referred to as Verbal Behavior Therapy (VB). However, the traditional VB approach often fails to develop a complete verbal repertoire; we cannot be content with only basic language skills. Learning mands, tacts, and intraverbals are a great foundation for language but there is much more complexity to human language. Traditional ABA targets very limited verbal skills that are often inflexibility and lacking in generativity and the abstract symbolism that typifies conversational language. Additionally, few current VB approaches are equipped to evaluate or teach children the relational and complex repertoires needed to respond to their world with meaning and understanding.
The PEAK: Relational Training System is a novel approach to Verbal Behavior Therapy, which embraces traditional verbal behavior accounts of basic language and incorporates contemporary behavior analytic strategies for promoting relational responding (a broad repertoire of learning meaning through relations between stimuli) which are responsible for our ability understand and use abstract language.
While traditional VB focuses on direct instruction and stimulus generalization (the process of learning to respond to similar stimuli as those that were taught), the PEAK system takes language learning a step further and includes prerequisite training for equivalence and relational learning that allows for derived responding. Derived responding, or learning through relations between stimuli without needing to be directly taught, is a process that is at the heart of human language and responsible for our ability to readily interpret novel expressions and understand the meaning of words.
To learn more about derived relational responding and how the PEAK system approaches language learning, check the listing of published papers, as well as the PEAK Facebook page.