Q. What is actually contained within a PEAK Module?
A. Each PEAK module contains an assessment for evaluating the presence or absence of 184 skills that serve as the foundations for language and cognition. The latter two modules also contain pre-assessments which are designed to evaluate abstract relational abilities.
Q. How long does it take to do the entire PEAK assessment?
A. Less than 2 hours total is the average. Total time will vary based on the abilities of the learner.
Q. Why are there 4 PEAK modules and when do I use each?
A. PEAK contains 4 separate learning modules to address 4 individual dimensions of language.
- Direct Training – basic foundational learning abilities (eye contact, requesting items, labeling items, answering WH questions, early concept formation, and elementary social skills).
- Generalization – heavily common-core standard driven and designed to take the basic concepts across contexts, stimuli, and people. This module is designed to build a generalized repertoire and reduce or eliminate memorized scripted learning often seen in other approaches.
- Equivalence – designed to teach concept formation and perceptual behavior. This module explores the multi-sensory experiences that often occur when we experience the world around us. Great for reducing challenges with reading comprehension.
- Transformation – created to produce awareness of the abstract concepts of same, different, opposite, comparison, hierarchy, and perspective taking. This module begins very basic with items like shape-shape matching, and rises to the higher limits of abstract logical reasoning.
Q. Do I run all the PEAK modules at the same time or do I run them sequentially?
A. The PEAK curriculum was created so that all 4 modules should be run concurrently. The exact proportion of each module within an intervention program is an empirical question that is currently being investigated.
Q. Is there any research supporting the use of PEAK?
A. There are over 25 peer-reviewed published studies on various elements of the PEAK assessment curriculum. There is much more research that needs to be done regarding PEAK and all other ABA packaged curriculums.
Q. How is PEAK different from other ABA assessments like the VB-MAPP or the ABBLS-R?
A. PEAK provides a much more comprehensive assessment across a wider range of language abilities.
The first module of PEAK has been shown to correlate significantly with both the VB-MAPP and the ABBLS-R. This means that many of the same skills are targeted across all three programs.
Where PEAK differs is when you go BEYOND the first module, and unlock all the various programming designed to promote generalization and higher-order language and cognition abilities.
Q. What ages are most appropriate for running PEAK?
A. 18 months of age through the teenage years.
Q. Is PEAK a VB (verbal behavior) approach to teaching language?
A. PEAK includes VB type of targets within its programming (tacts, mands, intraverbals), yet goes far beyond these basic elements and narrow view of the totality of language.
Q. Is PEAK accepted by insurance companies as an assessment and/or treatment approach?
A. Yes. Many insurance companies recognize and provide funding for services based on PEAK.
Q. Is PEAK hard to learn?
A. No. It was designed for accessibility across a wide range of educational backgrounds. High school graduates can carry out many of the programs and understand the basic concepts of the PEAK system. Obviously more specialized educational training will be helpful when attempting to conduct the assessments, or make treatment programs.
Q. Can I just add PEAK to my current set of language-based ABA assessments and/or interventions for persons with autism?
A. Yes, but it is likely that you will find that PEAK encompasses most of the relevant skill targets of these other approaches.
Q. Can PEAK be used with commercially available data collection systems?
A. Yes. Additionally, there are fillable PDFs on this website that allow you to capture data very easily without a heavy investment in a stand-alone data collection system.
Q. How can I keep on top of all the research, as well as training opportunities near me?
A. Join the PEAK ABA facebook page!
Q. Can I get a PEAK training or workshop for my agency?
A. Yes. In house consultation and training is available to help transition your organization to PEAK from another approach, or build your ABA programming from the ground up using PEAK.
Q. Can you summarize the PEAK research so I don’t need to read all the individual journal articles?
A. PEAK has been researched across a variety of ways. First, there have been a number of studies showing how individual programming targets have been effective at teaching new skills to persons with autism and other related disabilities. Second, there are a number of psychometric studies that have examined reliability and validity of sections of the PEAK program. These data are the first of their kind in ABA, and allow for easy discussion with non-behavioral persons regarding PEAK’s relationship to IQ, challenging behavior, expressive/receptive language, and benchmarking to neurotypical peers. Finally there is a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) which showed that PEAK training improved assessment scores compared to a control group that received no ABA intervention. You should keep in mind that more research is needed across all these three areas of findings, with larger sample sizes, greater numbers of skills, and dosage comparisons.
Q. Is any more PEAK research being conducted currently?
A. Yes. At least 10 active studies are currently being conducted. Topics include: larger RCTs, direct comparisons to traditional VB operant ABA, dosage effects, IQ changes, executive functioning changes, social behavior changes, and problem behavior reductions.
Q. What about life skills? It seems as if PEAK is targeting more academic and pre-accedemic modalities.
A. PEAK sets target skills that appear important, and often deficit in persons with autism. The types of actual tasks that a learner may be asked to complete could be either academic or functional life skills. With PEAK you have the ability to customize the specific items you teach, under the umbrella of a larger skill class. This allows clinicians that need to work within the confines of one of these two domains to refine the specific learning tasks to maximize coverage by payees.
Q. What’s next for PEAK?
A. PEAK-Life. A school-to-work transition curriculum is planned for release in 2018.