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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #130
CE Offered: BACB
Diagnosing and Treating Ethical Problems in ABA: What they are and how we can address them organizationally.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
204A (CC)
Area: CSE/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University)
Discussant: Devon Sundberg (Behavior Analysis Center for Autism)
CE Instructor: Adam Ventura, M.S.
Abstract: The dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder has greatly amplified the need for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. This, in turn, has led to the development of more behavior analysis businesses. With this surge in start-ups, a need has arisen for more discourse in the arena of business ethics, as many ABA company owners and administrators struggle with difficult staffing and financial decisions every day, which may impact the efficacy of their clients' treatment. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts is designed to address ethical issues at the individual level. However, organizations that are remunerated for services that individual behavior analyst provide roam largely unaccountable through the landscape of applied behavior analysis. In this symposium, we will discuss some unethical individual and organizational practices and suggest a possible solution that will help to galvanize our community toward unified ethical practices.
Keyword(s): Business, Ethics, Organization
The Malaise of ABA
JON S. BAILEY (Florida State University)
Abstract: In the procession of challenging ethics cases that come my way I am detecting a sense that something is not right about our profession, a malaise is setting in. Behavior analysts are abandoning or sleeping with clients, agencies are choosing to maximize profits rather than optimize services; professionals who should know better are supporting fad and fraud treatments; supervisors are looking the other way rather than directly observing their trainees and profit-centered training programs are anxious to enroll naïve students by the thousands, whether qualified or not, into online programs producing a steady stream of poorly prepared next-gen behavior analysts who are then desperate to find someone, anyone to provide the least costly “supervision.” In this presentation I will describe some ethics cases that represent what appears to be a warning signal to our field. It appears that our Code of Ethics may not be sufficient to cure what ails us.

PrognosisHopeful: A Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO)

ADAM E. VENTURA (World Evolve, Inc.)

Operating on an organization in order to change the culture is a delicate process, requiring only the most skilled and steady hands to accurately and safely graft new protocol. Unfortunately, behavior analysts often times struggle with establishing policies and procedures that are ethical in nature but that also avoid causing deleterious effects on the body of their companies. Structural arteries within a behavioral organization can be convoluted as each department serves as a life sustaining organ that must work in concert with regulatory bodies, ethical standards, and smart business practices to maintain the blood-flow of the organization. To help navigate the complexities of this process, a primer has been developed. A code of ethics designed to help guide practitioners and administrators as they perform surgery on their businesses. In this symposium, we will discuss what a Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO) is and how it can help breathe life into your organization.




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