Producing Higher Verbal Abilities in Children with Autism: Implementing the PEAK Relational Training System

Presenter: Mark Dixon, Ph.D., BCBA
Thursday, April 14, 2016: 9:00am - 12:00pm & 1:00pm - 4:00pm
6 BACB Type II CEUs (included in the price of registration)

Pre-Conference Workshop Sponsor

Bloom Behavior Therapy, located in Paducah, provides behavioral intervention services to families in the greater western Kentucky community who have children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Specializing in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, early intervention, and school consultation, Bloom offers personalized treatment by a nationally Board Certified Behavior Analyst PhD (BCBA-D).

Seeking some assistance to improve your child's behavior or help them become more independent? Bloom Behavior Therapy in Paducah would love to help. Our approach to therapy is to provide families, teachers, and clinicians with the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, or ‘ABA’, to create meaningful change. Clinic based, in-home, and school consultation services are provided. To learn more, call us at 270-908-0461 or send an email to

Pre-Conference Workshop

Our society is facing a global epidemic as the prevalence of children with autism continue to rise every year.  There are many theories as to the cause of autism, and even more supposed treatments for minimizing the impact of this condition for children and adults.  Over the past decade the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has risen to the top of scientifically validated approaches for treating persons with autism.  Within the field of ABA, there are a variety of specific techniques which can be utilized to improve the human condition.  Until recently, most ABA treatments have been based on traditional Skinnerian approaches to language and understandings of behavior.  Such ABA has accomplished fantastic things, and countless children with autism have benefited.  However, more careful exploration of the types of skills targeted, the repertoire depth, and the sophistication of cognitive abilities reveal that ABA techniques could clearly be improved upon.   Furthermore, an unexpected side effect of developing language and cognition for persons with autism is that once they begin to close developmental gaps, the same worries, anxieties, and fears that plague their neurotypical peers start to emerge.  When such a child expands their ability to think abstractly, the troubles of the world (both real and perceived) come into play.  

This workshop will introduce attendees to the power that contemporary behavioral science has for developing meaningful, robust generalizing repertoires for children with autism. Dr. Dixon will provide an overview of the PEAK Relational Training System – our field’s most empirically validated assessment and curriculum. All four PEAK modules will be discussed which include: programming for simple motor responses and language, social emotional comprehension, advanced generalization, stimulus equivalence, and relational framing. Peer reviewed research has shown correlational relationships between PEAK and IQ, convergent validity with expressive and receptive language tests, factor analyses of curriculum items, exceeding alternative ABA assessments / treatments in complexity, inter-rater reliability and perhaps most importantly treatment gains in only 60 days in a randomized clinical trial.  At the completion of this training attendees will be able to effectively use the PEAK assessments, understand the procedures for data collection and management when running ABA programs as well as use the treatment protocols to promote skill gains.  Dr. Dixon will also explore the potential that higher level therapeutic interventions such as ACT can have for children and young adults with autism.  He will take attendees through the direct links between traditional ABA therapy and its connections to RFT and ACT, and provide many of the exact treatment protocols used in his clinic and in schools across the world.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Describe the current state of science related to autism assessment and treatment.
  2. Conduct full scale assessment of language and cognition in persons with autism.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to design a comprehensive language and cognition training curriculum for children with autism based on assessment results.
  4. Describe how the four learning modalities of the PEAK Relational Training System are similar and different.
  5. Interpret the results of various PEAK assessments allowing for the creation of educational and clinical reports for ABA services for children with autism.
  6. Explain the empirical and conceptual links between RFT and ACT when treating persons with autism.
  7. Demonstrate treatment delivery of both RFT and ACT protocols for use with children with autism.
  8. Write progress reports and generate data-based graphical summaries of treatment success.
  9. Describe remediation procedures when lack of progress is encountered.