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Ethical Considerations for Applied Behavior Analysts It’s not enough just to know concepts, principles, and techniques!

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Presentation on theme: "Ethical Considerations for Applied Behavior Analysts It’s not enough just to know concepts, principles, and techniques!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethical Considerations for Applied Behavior Analysts It’s not enough just to know concepts, principles, and techniques!

2 Last But Not Least! Ethics: behaviors, practices, and decisions that address the following questions: –What is worth doing? –What does it mean to be a good behavior analyst? –What is the right thing to do?

3 What is the Right Thing to Do? Personal history of what is right and wrong –Personal background –Cultural or religious background –Professional training and experiences The context practice –What are the rules of your setting? –Legal, but unethical Ethical codes of behavior –ABA codes and statements –BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct

4 What is Worth Doing? Social Validity –Wolf (1978) - Social Validity: The Case for Subjective Measurement or How Behavior Analysis is Finding Its Heart Are the goals of the intervention acceptable? Are the procedures acceptable? Are the outcomes meaningful and sustainable? Cost-Benefit Ratio –Balancing the resources needed to plan, implement, and evaluate an intervention… –With the potential future gain for the learner Existing Exigencies –What behaviors should be treated first? –Is there time for assessment? –Are more intrusive interventions acceptable for more serious behavior problems?

5 What Does It Mean to Be a Good Behavior Analyst? It’s not enough to… –Follow codes of conduct –Keep the learner’s welfare at the forefront of decision-making –Follow the “Golden Rule” A good behavior analyst is… –Self-regulating –Adjust decision-making over time to integrate Values Contingencies Rights Responsibilities

6 Why is Ethics Important? In order to… –Produce meaningful, socially significant behavior change –Reduce or eliminate harm –Conform to ethical standards of society and professional organizations Without an ethical compass… –It may be difficult to decide when something is right or wrong –Especially in the “gray” areas

7 Standards of Professional Practice for ABA Professional Standards: Written guidelines of practice that provide direction for conducting the practices associated with an organization 5 documents describe standards for professional conduct and ethical practice for applied behavior analysts…

8 Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct American Psychological Association (APA) Latest revision in 2002 Adopted by ABA in 1988 5 General Principles 10 Ethical Standards Found at ml ml

9 The Right to Effective Behavioral Treatment Position paper written by an ABA task force Describes 6 basic client rights as the basis for directing the ethical and appropriate application of behavioral treatment Published in The Behavior Analyst in 1988 Found at atements/treatment.asp atements/treatment.asp

10 The Right to Effective Education Position paper written by an ABA task force Describes 6 guidelines for educational assessment and intervention Published in The Behavior Analyst in 1991 Found at atements/education.asp atements/education.asp

11 BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts Developed in 2004 Describes 10 areas for professional practice and ethical conduct Found at ml ml

12 BCBA and BCABA Task List Describes knowledge, skills, and attributes expected of a certified behavior analyst Now in its 3 rd edition (2005) 111 tasks across 10 content areas –Content Area 1 is Ethical Considerations and consists of 12 tasks Found at ml ml

13 Ensuring Professional Competence Obtaining certification –BACB began credentialing behavior analysts in 1999 based on practices in FL Practicing Within One’s Areas of Competence Maintaining and Expanding Professional Competence –Continuing Education Units (CEUs) –Attending and presenting at conferences –Professional reading –Oversight and peer review opportunities Making and Substantiating Professional Claims

14 Conferences COSAC: 2 nd or 3 rd week in May – Queens College Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities (BADD): April ABAI: Memorial Day Weekend – NJABA: August – Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis 7 Therapy (BABAT): 2 nd week in October NYSABA: November –

15 Ethical Issues in Client Services Informed Consent: before ax or tx is provided, recipient of services or participant in research gives permission (after full information is provided). 3 tests for consent to be valid: 1.Capacity to Decide Surrogate Consent Guardian Consent 2.Voluntary Decision – not coerced and given with understanding that consent can be withdrawn 3.Knowledge of Treatment – language must be clear and nontechnical Note: Treatment may be given without consent in cases of emergency

16 Ethical Issues in Client Services Confidentiality –Limits to confidentiality –Breaches of confidentiality Protecting the Client’s Dignity, Health, and Safety –Do I honor the person’s choices? –Do I provide adequate space for privacy? –Do I treat the person with respect? Helping the Client Select Outcomes and Behavior Change Targets Maintaining Records –Data, descriptions of tx, progress notes

17 Providing Necessary and Needed Services Is the problem amenable to behavior treatment? –Medical causes/evaluation –Problem with someone else? –Other txs been tried? –Is there really a problem? –Can it be solved simply/informally? –Better addressed by someone else? –Is it an emergency? Is the proposed intervention likely to be successful? –Client and caregivers willing to participate? –Similar behavior treated in research? –Do you have the necessary experience? –Abilities of implementers

18 Embracing the Scientific Method Base your practices on –The scientific literature –Direct and frequent measurement of behaviors –Consultation with other professionals when necessary Least Restrictive Alternative (LRA): Use the most powerful but least intrusive methods first Program and assess for generalization

19 A Model of Declaration of Practices sp

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