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Research Publications

Featured Peer-Reviewed Publications:
Targeting Staff Treatment Integrity of the PEAK Relational Training System Using Behavioral Skills Training
Hahs & Jarynowski (2019)

PEAK is a language curriculum dedicated to expanding language via the science of behavior analysis. The present study sought to evaluate the extent to which a behavioral skills training (BST) program impacted treatment integrity for six direct care staff implementing the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) with six individuals with autism. We used a 2-h workshop-like Behavioral Skills Training (BST; instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback) targeting PEAK treatment integrity. The results indicate that BST improved overall procedural integrity for all staff. All learners with autism improved their total percentage of correct, independent responding specific to the targeted programs. Further, all (6/6) staff maintained integrity to PEAK at well above baseline levels and all individuals with autism maintained high levels of performance specific to the targeted programs. The importance of appropriate training and treatment integrity given the implementation of PEAK is discussed.

Teaching “Then-Later” and “Here-There” Relations to Children with Autism: an Evaluation of Single Reversals and Transformation of Stimulus Function
Barron, Verkuylen, Belisle, Paliliunas, & Dixon (2019)

The present study demonstrates the utility of relational training for teaching Then-Later and Here-There deictic relations for two children with autism. Mutually entailed single-reversal relations, transfers of stimulus function, and transformations of stimulus function were also evaluated for each participant. The methods were adapted from the PEAK-T curriculum. Results for both participants support the utility of relational training for teaching children with autism basic perspective-taking skills. Both participants were able to generalize the perspective-taking skills to novel sets of stimuli, and demonstrate mutually entailed responding during single-reversal tasks. Both participants were also able to demonstrate transformations of stimulus function for both Then-Later and Here-There deictic relations.

The present study evaluated the efficacy of a discrete-trial-training procedure to bring extended verbal behavior under the convergent control of audience and contextual variables during a show-and-tell activity. Three children with autism were exposed initially to a baseline condition in which they were presented with a preferred item and asked to tell the class about it. Following low rates of responding, a differential reinforcement procedure was implemented that reinforced extending the verbal utterance word length beyond baseline levels allowing for an appropriate display of “show-and-tell” behavior. The results show that the procedures were efficacious in application with three children with autism, providing a method that can be conducted in classroom settings to teach a complex form of verbal operant behavior.

The effectiveness of the peak relational training system and corresponding changes on the VB‐MAPP for young adults with autism
Dixon, Wiggins, & Belisle (2018)

The current investigation sought to extend prior research evaluating the use of the PEAK Relational Training System as a comprehensive treatment model in improving language skills demonstrated by individuals with autism. Baseline PEAK‐Direct Training and Verbal Behavior Milestone Assessment and Placement Program (VB‐MAPP) assessments were conducted across 3 adult male participants, and scores on the PEAK‐Direct Training assessment were used to select targets for intervention. Language instruction guided by the PEAK‐Direct Training module was implemented for 45 to 69 days across participants. Results suggest that participants mastered target skills throughout the training phase, and VB‐MAPP test probes showed an increasing trend. Follow‐up probes suggested that scores on the VB‐MAPP maintained when training was discontinued. In addition, participants demonstrated an increase in assessment scores on the PEAK‐Direct Training assessment in the follow‐up phase, including the mastery of untargeted verbal skills.

Up-to Date Peer-Reviewed Publications List:

Barron, B. F., Verkuylen, L., Belisle, J., Paliliunas, D., & Dixon, M. R. (2019). Teaching “Then-Later” and “Here-There” Relations to Children with Autism: an Evaluation of Single Reversals and Transformation of Stimulus Function. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

 

Belisle, J., Dixon, M. R., & Stanley, C. R. (2018). The Mediating Effects of Derived Relational Responding on the Relationship Between Verbal Operant Development and IQ. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Belisle, J., Dixon, M. R., Stanley, C. R., Munoz, B., & Daar, J. H. (2016). Teaching foundational perspective-taking skills to children with autism using the PEAK-T curriculum: Single-reversal “I-You” deictic frames. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Belisle, J., Rowsey, K. E., & Dixon, M. R. (2016). The use of in-situ behavioral skills training to improve staff implementation of the PEAK relational training system. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management.

Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., & Dixon, M. R. (2017). The relationship between derived mutually entailed relations and the function of challenging behavior in children with autism: Comparing the PEAK-E-PA and the QABF. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., Alholail, A. M., Galliford, M. E., & Dixon, M. R. (2018). Abstraction of tactile properties by individuals with autism and down syndrome using a picture‐based communication system. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., McKeel, A., Whiting, S., Speelman, R. C., Daar, J. H., & Rowsey, K. E. (2017). An internal and critical review of the PEAK Relational Training System for children with autism and related intellectual disabilities: 2014-2017. The Behavior Analyst.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Munoz, B.E., Stanley, C.R., & Rowsey, K.E. (2017). Teaching metaphorical extensions of private events to children with emotional disorders using PEAK-direct training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Rowsey, K. E., Speelman, R. C., Stanley, C. R., & Kime, D. (2016). Evaluating emergent naming relations through representational drawing in individuals with developmental disabilities using the PEAK-E curriculum. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., & Stanley, C. R. (2018). Derived Relational Responding and Intelligence: Assessing the Relationship Between the PEAK-E Pre-assessment and IQ with Individuals with Autism and Related Disabilities. The Psychological Record.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., Munoz, B. E., & Speelman, R. C. (2017). Derived coordinated symmetrical and transitive gustatory-visual-auditory relations in children with disabilities. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Sciences.

Dixon., M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., & Rowsey, K. E. (2018). Student outcomes after 1 year of front line staff implementation of the PEAK curriculum. Behavioral Interventions.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., Rowsey, K. E., Daar, J. H., & Szekely, S.  (2015).  Toward a behavior analysis of complex language for children with autism: Evaluating the relationship between PEAK and the VB-MAPP.  Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., Speelman, R. C., Rowsey, K. E., & Daar, J. H. (2016). Establishing derived categorical responding in children with disabilities using the PEAK-E curriculum. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

 

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. S., & Williams, L. A. (2016).  Derived equivalence relations of geometry skills in students with autism: An application of the PEAK-E curriculum. Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Whiting, S. W., Rowsey, K. E. (2014).  Normative sample of the PEAK Relational Training System:  Direct Training Module and subsequent comparisons to individuals with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dixon, M. R., Blevins, A., Belisle, J., & Bethel, B. (2019). Teaching children with autism extended verbal utterances under audience control in the context of show-and-tell. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Dixon, M. R., Peach, J., Daar, J. H., & Penrod, C. (2017). Teaching complex verbal operants to children with autism and establishing generalization using the peak curriculum. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Dixon, M. R., McCord, B., & Belisle, J. A demonstration of higher‐order response class development in children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Dixon, M. R., Rowsey, K. E., Gunnarsson, K. F., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., & Daar, J. H. (2017). Normative sample of the PEAK Relational Training System: Generalization module with comparison to individuals with autism. Journal of Behavioral Education.

Dixon, M. R., Speelman R. C., Rowsey, K. E., & Belisle, J. (2016). Derived rule-following and transformation of stimulus functions in a children’s game: An application of PEAK-E with children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Sciences.

Dixon, M. R., Stanley, C. R., Belisle, J., Galliford, M. E., Alholail, A., & Schmick, A. (2017). Establishing derived relations of basic geography skills. Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

Dixon, M. R., Stanley, C. S., Belisle, J., & Rowsey, K. E. (2016). The test-retest and inter-rater reliability of the PEAK-direct training assessment for use with individuals with autism and related disabilities. Behavior Analytic Research and Practice.

Dixon, M. R., Whiting, S. W., Rowsey, K. E., & Belisle, J. (2014).  Assessing the Relationship between Intelligence and the PEAK Relational Training System. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Dixon, M. R., Wiggins, S., & Belisle, J. (2018). The effectiveness of the peak relational training system and corresponding changes on the VB‐MAPP for young adults with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Dunkel-Jackson, S., & Dixon, M. R. (2018) Promoting generalized advanced language skills of children in intensive behavioral intervention with Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Generalization Module (PEAK–G). Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Hahs, A. D., & Jarynowski, J. (2019). Targeting Staff Treatment Integrity of the PEAK Relational Training System Using Behavioral Skills Training. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Malkin, A., Dixon, M. R., Speelman, R., & Luke, N. (2017). Evaluating the relationships between the PEAK Relational Training System–Direct Training Module, Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills–Revised, and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales–II. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.

May, B. K., & Flake, L. (2019). PEAK Pre-Assessments: Preliminary Evidence Establishing Internal Consistency and Construct Validity. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

McKeel, A. N., Dixon, M. R., Daar, J. H., Rowsey, K. E., & Szekely, S. (2015). Evaluating the efficacy of the PEAK relational training system using a randomized controlled trial of children with autism. Journal of Behavioral Education.

McKeel, A., & Matas, J. (2017). Utilizing PEAK Relational Training System to Teach Visual, Gustatory, and Auditory Relations to Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

McKeel, A. N., Rowsey, K. E., Belisle, J., Dixon, M. R., & Szekely, S. (2015). Teaching complex verbal operants with the PEAK Relational Training System. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

McKeel, A., Rowsey, K., Dixon, M. R., & Daar, J. H. (2015). Correlation between PEAK relational training system and one-word picture vocabulary tests. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Mullen, S., Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., & Stanley, C. R. (2017). Establishing auditory-tactile-visual equivalence classes in children with autism and developmental delays. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

Rowsey, K. E., Belisle, J., & Dixon, M. R. (2014).  Principal component analysis of the PEAK relational training system. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.

Rowsey, K. E., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., & Dixon, M. R. (2017). Principal component analysis of the PEAK relational training system Generalization module. Journal of Behavioral Education.

Schmick, A. M., Stanley, C. R., & Dixon, M. R. (2018). Teaching Children with Autism to Identify Private Events of Others in Context. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Stanley, C. R., Belisle, J., & Dixon, M. R. (2018). Equivalence‐based instruction of academic skills: Application to adolescents with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.