Utilizing PEAK Relational Training System to Teach Visual, Gustatory, and Auditory Relations to Adults with Developmental Disabilities


Two multiple baseline designs were conducted across participants to determine if the promoting the emergence of advanced knowledge (PEAK) equivalence module was an effective tool in teaching adults with autism relationships between stimuli. More specifically, a transitivity program utilizing the gustatory sensory modality was implemented. Stimuli were selected and probed initially preceding the training. First, gustatory stimuli to a visual picture were trained. Then, a visual picture to a spoken word was trained. Finally, once mastery criterion was reached, each participant’s responding was tested to determine whether there were derived relations following training. Results showed that all three participants reached mastery criterion in training sessions and were able to derive new relations without direct training.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Autumn McKeel.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This study was not funded.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

1. This study shows that adults in group home settings can learn complex skills related to verbal behavior via evidence-based teaching strategies.

2. Due to the short implementation time, this study gives implications for adults to utilize evidence-based curriculum on a wide scale to teach communication skills.

3. This study gives implications to the tool that was used, PEAK-E, including that it is practical to use in an applied setting.

4. This study gives implications to current practitioners to seek evidence-based assessments and curriculum when designing verbal behavior-based programs.

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McKeel, A., Matas, J. Utilizing PEAK Relational Training System to Teach Visual, Gustatory, and Auditory Relations to Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Behav Analysis Practice 10, 252–260 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-017-0194-8

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  • Developmental disabilities
  • Group home
  • PEAK-E
  • Verbal behavior