Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports Amy Cohen, Ph.D, BCBA Clinical Director HowardCenter Autism Spectrum Program
Overview • Review the ethical guidelines for the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports • General discussion regarding the guidelines or ethical situations which pose the greatest challenges in our work
Standards for Professional Guidelines • ABA and PBIS- like most areas of professional conduct- have developed standards of practice or ethical guidelines which practitioners are expected to adhere to • In addition, we are all expected to adhere to the ethical guidelines of our agencies and of mental health clinicians
BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts • 1.0 Responsible Conduct of a Behavior Analyst • The behavior analyst maintains the high standards of professional behavior of the professional organization. • 2.0 The Behavior Analyst's Responsibility to Clients • The behavior analyst has a responsibility to operate in the best interest of clients. • 3.0 Assessing Behavior • Behavior analysts who use behavioral assessment techniques do so for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research. • 4.0The Behavior Analyst and the Individual Behavior Change Program • The behavior analyst designs programs that are based on behavior analytic principles, including assessments of effects of other intervention methods, involves the client or the client-surrogate in the planning of such programs, obtains the consent of the client, and respects the right of the client to terminate services at any time.
BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts • 5.0 The Behavior Analyst as Teacher and/or Supervisor • Behavior analysts delegate to their employees, supervisees, and research assistants only those responsibilities that such persons can reasonably be expected to perform competently. • 6.0 The Behavior Analyst and the Workplace • The behavior analyst adheres to job commitments, assesses employee interactions before intervention, works within his/her scope of training, develops interventions that benefit employees, and resolves conflicts within these Guidelines. • 7.0 The Behavior Analyst and Research • Behavior analysts design, conduct, and report research in accordance with recognized standards of scientific competence and ethical research. Behavior analysts conduct research with human and non-human research participants according to the proposal approved by the local human research committee, and Institutional Review Board.
BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts • 8.0 The Behavior Analyst's Ethical Responsibility to the Field of Behavior Analysis • The behavior analyst has a responsibility to support the values of the field, to disseminate knowledge to the public, to be familiar with these guidelines, and to discourage misrepresentation by non-certified individuals. • 9.0 The Behavior Analyst's Responsibility to Colleagues • Behavior analysts have an obligation to bring attention to and resolve ethical violations by colleagues, to make sure their data are accurate and presented truthfully, and they share data with colleagues. • 10.0 The Behavior Analyst's Ethical Responsibility to Society • The behavior analyst promotes the general welfare of society through the application of the principles of behavior.
PBS STANDARDS OF PRACTICE • I. Foundations of PBS • II. Collaboration and Team Building • III. Basic Principles of Behavior • IV. Data-Based Decision Making • V. Comprehensive Person Centered and Functional Behavior Assessments • VI. Development and Implementation of Comprehensive, Multielement Behavior Support Plans
What Determines Ethical Procedures? • Community standards • Laws • Prevailing philosophies • Individual freedoms • Clients’ attitude and feelings • Social validity (consumer satisfaction)
Ethical Procedures • Goals and procedures must be acceptable to students, parents and community
Ethical Procedures • Individuals who receive behavioral treatment services have the right to: • a therapeutic environment • Services whose overriding goal is personal welfare • Treatment by a competent behavior analyst • Programs that teach functional skills • Behavioral assessment and ongoing evaluation • The most effective treatment procedures available -Executive Council for the Association of Behavior Analysis
Therapeutic Environments • Therapeutic Environment should be: • Safe • Humane • Response to individual needs • Enjoyable (offer choice) • Least restrictive
The Goal of Personal Welfare • Appropriate goal setting is required • Recipient of services (or parent) be informed of the goals and agree to them • Informed consent • Voluntary consent
Treatment by a Competent Behavior Analyst • All treatment should be overseen by a competent behavior analyst/behavior specialist (in PBS) • Should have academic & on-going hands-on training, supervision and evaluation
Programs that Teach Functional Skills • Functional skills are determined by the needs of a particular individual and the environment in which they will live and what will be functional for them • Each individual is capable of full participation in community life and has a right to such participation
Behavioral Assessment and Ongoing Evaluation • Functional assessments are conducted in order to develop interventions & behavior plans • Consent for the assessment must be obtained & the results must be explained • Ongoing evaluation is necessary to ensure skill acquisition & maintenance
The Most Effective Treatment Procedures Available • Must rely on scientifically & professionally derived knowledge to develop treatments • Treatments should be the most effective & least restrictive, least aversive treatment available • Consent is required for implementing behavior change procedures
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • Behavior Analysts have a responsibility to operate in the best interests of the client. • Who is the client? • School • Child • family • How do you make that decision?
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • A behavior analyst refrains from entering into dual relationships if it appears that such a relationship might reasonably impair objectivity, performance, functioning
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • Behavior analysts terminate a professional relationship when it becomes reasonably clear that the client no longer needs the service, is not benefiting, or is being harmed by continued service. • How long? • What is reasonably clear? • Who decides the benefit of services?
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • If environmental conditions preclude implementation of a behavior analytic program, the behavior analyst recommends that other professional assistance be sought. • What conditions might preclude implementation?
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • The behavior analyst recommends reinforcement first rather than punishment whenever possible. • Often conflicts with schools preferences/values
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • When behavior analysts believe there may have been an ethical violation by another behavior analyst, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing to the attention of that individual if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate confidentiality.
Key Guidelines or Standards that present challenges or are confronted in our work • The behavior analyst always recommends the least restrictive procedures (in the least restrictive environment) likely to be effective in dealing with the problem behavior.