Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #366
CE Offered: BACB — 
Teaching Clinical Decision-Making: Instructing Graduate Students in Collaborative and Ethical Decision Making Skills
Sunday, May 29, 2022
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 204A/B
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jessica Rohrer (Endicott College; Center for Children with Special Needs )
CE Instructor: Jessica Rohrer, Ph.D.
Abstract: The field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) relies on the teaching and learning that occurs during graduate programs and supervision experiences to effectively prepare students to undertake independent roles as behavior analysts. Therefore, it is critically important that we evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching procedures and revise them to achieve maximal learning outcomes for students. The studies presented within this symposium evaluated instruction for graduate students of behavior analysis in navigating complex challenges in clinical practice such as ethical decision making. Decision making topics included training in navigating ethical scenarios and translating nonbehavioral treatments. These areas of great importance in the field of ABA are often complex and nuanced, making it challenging to determine whether mastery has occurred. The present symposium explores the effectiveness of traditional teaching methodologies versus competency-based teaching, the use of ethical decision making frameworks, as well as behavioral skills training methodologies to teach skills which will ultimately improve practitioners’ ability to collaborate and make ethical decisions. The results of these studies have far-reaching implications for instructors and supervisors within behavior analysis, particularly with respect to equipping students and supervisees with the skills they need to navigate complex collaborative and ethical scenarios.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): collaboration, decision making, ethics, teaching
Target Audience: Audience members should have a comprehensive understanding of the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (formerly Professional and Ethical Compliance Code) and an understanding of evidence-based practices for teaching skills.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1)describe ethical decision-making skills taught within the studies; (2) identify the importance of teaching complex clinical decision making skills to pre-service clinicians; (3)describe effective ways to train students on behavior analytic ethical skills.
Implementing a Training Package to Instruct Aspiring Supervisors to Train Evaluation of Ethical Scenarios
JESSICA PIAZZA (Endicott College)
Abstract: Quality training of individuals pursuing certification as behavior analysts is critical to the continued success of the field of applied behavior analysis. It is equally essential that trainees are competent in implementing interventions, while also receiving comprehensive training in necessary skill sets to support their future success as supervisors of behavior analytic services. The inclusion of effective training packages embedded within supervised experience and university training is crucial to developing a strong repertoire of supervisory practices. Additionally, incorporating comprehensive instruction on complex skills, such as providing a framework for navigating ethical scenarios, is important for trainees to successfully demonstrate ethical practice as clinicians and supervisors. This study assessed the effectiveness of utilizing behavioral skills training (BST) to remotely instruct 9 students, pursuing certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), to train a confederate on assessing ethical scenarios using BST. All 9 participants met mastery criteria and maintained mastery over time. These results support that the use of effective training packages can be used to instruct trainees to competently train others on complex topics, such as assessing ethical scenarios.
Teaching Graduate Students to Translate Nonbehavioral Treatments into Behavioral Principles
KRISTIN BOWMAN (Endicott College)
Abstract: Behavior analytic translations of nonbehavioral treatments were recommended by Brodhead (2015) as part of a decision-making framework for practitioners working on interprofessional treatment teams. Professionals from different disciplines often have overlapping scopes of practice and competence, yet each recommends interventions according to their discipline-specific worldview and training. Nonbehavioral treatment recommendations may be especially challenging for behavior analytic practitioners who are committed to the science of human behavior and who are also ethically obligated to work cooperatively and in the best interest of the client. Learning to translate nonbehavioral treatments into behavior analytic principles and procedures may function as a valuable means of improving professional judgment, thereby promoting evidence-based practice and effective collaboration. Behavioral translations may expose procedures that are, in fact, conceptually systematic, thus creating more opportunities for behavior analysts to partner in interprofessional care. Using a behavioral skills training package, graduate students of applied behavior analysis were taught to translate nonbehavioral treatments into behavior analytic principles and procedures. All students produced more comprehensive translations following training.
Practice Makes Progress: Evaluating Ethics Instruction Using Competency-Based Assessments
CHRISTEN RUSSELL (Endicott College)
Abstract: Ethical decision-making and ethical behavior are a large focus of training for students who wish to pursue careers in behavior analysis. In addition to education and training mandates by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, universities that offer a Verified Course Sequence are required to teach and maintain ethical behavior in students. However, ethical violations and Code enforcement continue to be an issue in Applied Behavior Analysis. In this study, we conducted a prepost group design to assess students’ ethical decision-making through competency-based learning versus typical class structure (e.g., lecture, interteach, study guides). If Verified Course Sequence programs can help students to identify ethical problems early and rectify concerns before they further develop, students and BCBAs can mitigate the risk of engaging in ethical violations. This will decrease the likelihood of the student having to go through Code enforcement or Professional Coaching, and, potentially, being sanctioned by the Board. This paper compares the use of traditional teaching methods to competency-based assessments in teaching ethics and analyzes the utility.



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