Using PEAK in the Classroom

Categories: ABA 101 | Academics

Using PEAK in the Classroom

One of the many tools I use in my classroom is PEAK ABA curriculum. I’m going to share a quick overview of how I use PEAK in the classroom and the success I’ve had while using PEAK.  This overview isn’t written technically for the BCBA or the clinician, rather it’s written simply for the teacher looking for easy, guided ways to implement ABA/DTT into the classroom. One of the things I absolutely love about it is that just about anyone can pick it up and use it with success! Let’s dig in.

What is PEAK?

PEAK is a language based behavior analytic tool or curriculum written by Dr. Mark Dixon that uses DTT to help students learn and generalize skills. PEAK stands for Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge. It is research based and easily implemented in the school (or clinic) setting. There are 4 modules to the PEAK curriculum: Direct Training, Generalization, Equivalence, and Transformation.

Who can use PEAK?

I’ve personally had success with students labeled with Autism, Down Syndrome, FAS, ID, DD, ED and OHI. Students school age are largely successful with PEAK (ages 2/3- ages 17/18 or so). 

Where do I start?

Start by giving the PCA, or the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment. This assessment will cover all 4 modules within the PEAK curriculum in one test. The assessment looks a variety of different aspects, including verbal reasoning, verbal comprehension, foundational skills, perceptual learning skills, and math reasoning to name a few. Use the results of the assessment to determine where to start students in each PEAK module. 


Each book is made up of different ABA programs to run with students. Copy the pages of the programs you want to run with students and fill in the stimulus to create program sheets. The stimulus is chosen by the teacher and can be catered to meet student deficits and interests.There are 3 different levels of stimulus for each program. Start and mastered dates are recorded on the program sheet. 

Each program has a corresponding number and letter to help identify the program. Those number/letter identifiers are then used to fill in a skill triangle for each module. This makes reporting on progress a breeze to parents! 

Taking Data

Each module comes with a data sheet that is used to track student performance. Present stimuli at random so students do not memorize order! The numbers on my data sheet that are written correspond with the stimulus number on the program sheet. In general, students are scored with a 10 (independently correct answer), 8 (one prompt), 4 (2 prompts) 2 (3 or more prompts) or a 0 (no response). When completed, the percentage is calculated. The initials of the person running the trials is noted as well as the date. Student mastery of a stimulus level is typically 29/30 trials scoring at 10 (so only one trial with error). As students master skills, color them in on the corresponding triangle. 

Want to Learn More?

Ready for more than just an overview? Here are some resources to get you started:

PEAK ABA website:

PEAK Facebook user group:

PEAK YouTube channel (SUPER HELPFUL! Watch clinicians run trials!)

PEAK Instagram

Links to purchase PEAK books:

I’ve personally had huge success with PEAK ABA and love the way students learn with it. Dr. Mark Dixon is well known in the ABA world as doing cutting edge research and often calls his curriculum the new era of ABA, and I personally agree. The way students are able to generalize knowledge using PEAK continues to astound me every time I see it. If you are looking for a fresh approach to ABA, give PEAK a shot!


  1. I have been using PEAK since the first book was released. I was a self-contained teacher needing something to guide my instruction. Now, as a BCBA, I still use this! As a teacher, my paras were able to follow the protocol and easily collect data. I highly recommend PEAK to all my teacher friends!

  2. Hi Keshia, that’s so great to hear! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Deat Jen,

    How to get the books??
    I’m from Indonesia anyway and interest to learn more about Peak

    Thanks for ur prompt reply


    • Hey!

      Thank you for this wonderful platform for sharing information!
      I am an ABA Therapist and I usually use VBMAPP, this is my first time setting a target list according to levels(1,2,3).
      I would like to know if we follow a specific target list or can create our own targets for e.g., If we are teaching community helpers – can we put nurses, doctors, and teachers as level 1 and electricians, plumbers as level 2 since a child is more familiar with the former one?

      • Yes, you definitely can and should use targets that are relevant to that child!

  4. I am currently a para pro in an autistic classroom. My son is currently 15 and diagnosed with high functioning asperser’s. I am currently enrolled to become a special ed teacher. I have worked with special needs children for over 10 years. In my classroom for next year, we will have at least 5 different levels of high functioning Jr high students, ages 10,11 and 12. Is this something that can be used across the board to make it easier to collect data? Also, we will have one student that is currently labeled as a runner, hitter, biter, etc. that will also be in our classroom. Will this also work for him?

  5. Hi there! I think it could – check out PEAK’s website for more info!

  6. Hello – for intraverbals substitutions by function – 2A in Generalization, is there a list of dual functions for objects somewhere?

  7. How are you storing the materials for each program? My school has talked about using bins or curtain rods with colored pages for each book. Thanks!

  8. Hello,

    How can I get PEAK program?


  9. My student’s currently use the PEAK and while I do love it, I’m having difficulty when writing objectives in their IEP. Instead of your typical 80% mastery, since the PEAK is based off prompting the percentage is much higher.

    • Hi Alisse! This brings up a really great point about IEP goals not needing to be written at 80% all of the time (Sasha has big opinions on this, too!). Sometimes, skills have to be mastered at 100% (potty training is a GREAT example of this), while other times learners need to step into skills and they will take a longer time mastering them. In the case where it takes longer, a lower percentage for IEP goal mastery is appropriate OR a smaller stimulus size is appropriate (instead of 10 stimulus, try 2, 3 or 5). For IEP goals, write the goal with mastery as something that is obtainable to the learner, then as you meet that percentage, master the IEP goal but not the PEAK program. Continue PEAK until mastery is met and the learner is ready to move on or increase the difficulty or stimulus size. This could mean that one year you have a goal of meeting Receptive Letter ID at 50% and the next year at 80%… OR you might have a learner who memorizes quickly and 100% mastery is appropriate. However you approach the goal, don’t find yourself locked in to 80% IEP goal mastery!

      • Thank you, Alisse for asking this question! And, thank you, Jen for your response. I am looking for a sample of a goal written for a student who is using PEAK. Do you have an example you can share?
        Thank you in advance.

        • Hi Beth! Sure! A reading IEP goal example from a kindergarten student… this is with using PEAK Direct Training 9F (receptively ID letters): “Student” will receptively identify all 26 upper case letters from a field of 3-5 with ___% accuracy ( in whatever time is appropriate). You’ll need to format the IEP goal to your district’s standards and requirements, but the ‘Goal’ part of the PEAK program is a great place to start with writing IEP goals.

  10. What does the classroom schedule look like when incorporating PEAK? Do you have set times that you use specifically for PEAK or do you incorporate it into subjects like math and reading? Thanks!

    • For my learners, PEAK covers pretty much all academics. We have centers, but no specific reading/math times. All academic goals are covered in PEAK. However other classrooms have specific PEAK time then other subjects. I’ve done it both ways, and it really is just based on what students need. Your schedule will be specific to your learners and what they need.


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