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5841 Ethics In Applied Behavior Analysis [BCBA Session]

Thursday, July 7, 2011: 3:15 PM-4:30 PM
Sun A (Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center)
This presentation will provide practicing behavior analysts with a review of the ethical standards established for the field. A panel discussion of real-life scenarios will be conducted for each standard. Behavior analysis, as a profession, has seen significant growth in recent years. The field is based in science, and the focus is the use and application of conditioning and learning techniques to modify the behavior of children or adults presenting severe behavior management problems.

Many other helping professions focus on improving the lives of the clients they serve. The field of behavior analysis differs from these other fields in several fundamental ways. First, behavior analysis is not only grounded in science but goes further by implementing only “evidence-based" treatment methods. Behavior analysis is also applicable to many different types of clients, from low-functioning individuals with developmental disabilities to CEOs, from children to adults, from young to old. Behavior analysis is also a science that is utilized beyond the laboratory walls. Due to the nature of the field, it is imperative that the implementation of strategies occur in the environment where the behavior is occurring. Lastly, while the trained behavior analyst conducts the assessment of behavior and ultimately develops the behavior treatment plan, it is often implemented on a daily basis by less trained professionals.

Because of these unique features, it is essential that the field has a guiding list of ethical standards that  must be upheld by all professionals. Currently, behavior analysts work in a variety of settings, from clinics and schools to workplaces. An even greater increase in the visibility of the behavior analyst has occurred in the field of autism. The challenge of combining the science of behavior analysis with the needs of individuals with autism is often a daunting task. Since their practice may involve the use of reinforcement, aversive stimuli or punishment, they confront many special ethical challenges. On a daily basis, the behavior analyst must make difficult decisions regarding appropriate treatment options. Recently, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board developed a set of 10 fundamental ethical guidelines to be followed by all behavior analysts. These guidelines enable practicing behavior analysts to make the best choices in every situation.  

This panel discussion will explain the purpose of each of the 10 guidelines. Real-life scenarios highlighting these guidelines will then be presented to members of the panel for comment and discussion. Participants in the workshop will also have an opportunity to comment on the scenarios.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will understand the Code of Responsible Behavior developed by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.
  • Attendees will understand how the guidelines for responsible behavior relate to daily siutations faced by the practicing behavior analyst.

Content Area: Behavior


Anne S. Holmes, M.S., CCC, BCBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Eden Autism Services

Anne Holmes is Chief Clinical Officer for Eden Autism Services and is on the Autism Society’s Panel of Professional Advisors. Ms. Holmes has worked in the field of autism for over thirty years. She has written numerous papers and articles and is the primary editor of Eden’s curriculum series.

Nina Finkler, M.Ed., LDT/C, BCBA
President Nina Finkler Autism Consulting, LLC
Nina Finkler Autism Consulting, LLC

Nina Finkler, President of Nina Finkler Autism Consulting, LLC in New Jersey has 25 years of experience with ABA, training, and assessment. She holds her Master’s degree in Special Education from Rutgers University, is a NJ licensed Learning Consultant and is a BCBA. Ms. Finkler is on several advisory boards.

James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
JB Autism Consulting

Dr. James Ball is the President/Chief Executive Officer of JB Autism Consulting. He has been in the field of autism for over twenty-five years providing behavioral, educational, residential, and employment services to children and adults affected by autism. He provides private consultation