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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #244
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethical and Professional Business Practices for Small, Medium, and Large Organizations
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Liberty Ballroom Salon BC
Area: OBM/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Melissa L. Olive (Adapt for Life ABA The Florida Association for Behavior Analysis)
Discussant: Stephen Wood (Cultivate Behavior Management Corporation )
CE Instructor: Melissa L. Olive, Ph.D.
Abstract: The “business” of ABA is booming. It is not uncommon to see a newly certified BCBA hang a shingle to open their own ABA service delivery organization. Private equity has also entered the ABA space as evidenced by the purchases of very large organizations such as The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), Action Behavior Centers, and Acorn Behavioral Health. With the growth of the business of ABA comes challenges such as clinician turnover, RBT Training, supervision of trainees who are pursuing their BCBA credential, and fraud. The field has also seen failed businesses close their doors. This session will cover the challenges of running an ABA business of various sizes. Ethical and professional solutions will also be provided. Finally, time will be allowed for question and answer with the audience. Disclaimer: This session will not prepare you to become a business owner. However, this session could be used in conjunction with additional training, supervision, and mentorship
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): ABA Business, Ethical Businesses, OBM
Target Audience: Business leadership and/or individuals interested in becoming business owners.
Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will identify ethical issues of starting an ABA business. 2. Participants will identify evidence-based solutions for addressing challenges within ABA businesses 3. Participants will describe the importance of structuring supervision sessions across the company 4. Participants will describe how to provide clinical and business leadership at all levels of a large company

Ethical Issues in Starting an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Organization

MELISSA L. OLIVE (Adapt for Life ABA The Florida Association for Behavior Analysis)

This paper will apply the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts to various ethical situations that arise as a business owner. The following core principles will be covered: Benefit others, Behave with Integrity, Ensuring Competence, Conforming with Legal and Professional Requirements; and the following codes will be covered: 1.02. Conforming with Legal and Professional Requirements; 1.05 Practicing within Scope of Competence; 1.06 Maintaining Competence; 2.01 Providing Effective Treatment; 3.01 Responsibility to Clients; and 5.08 Using Testimonials from Former Clients for Advertising. The paper will also present the need for competencies in Organizational Behavioral Management (OBM) and basic business practices. The need for comprehensive insurance policies will be described and solutions for selecting various packages will be discussed. Finally, the need for appropriate legal and financial support will be discussed. Small businesses without expertise in these areas may run into legal and financial strain that could result in the organization failing and closing its doors resulting in clients being without services and employees being without work. Problem solving ethical dilemmas will be presented and finally procedures for preventing subsequent ethical missteps will be discussed.

Ethical Issues and Professional Solutions for Running a Medium-Sized Business
MELISSA SAUNDERS (Creative Interventions)
Abstract: This paper will highlight the challenges faced by small businesses as they grow to medium-sized businesses. This includes businesses that operate in more than one location but not more than 2 different states. Additional elements from the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts include: 2.08 Communicating About Services; 2.09 Involving Clients and Stakeholders; 3.01 Responsibility to Clients; 3.03 Accepting Clients; 3.04 Service Agreement; 3.05 Financial Agreements, and 4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements. Discussion of the need to diversify the payer options is an essential element and will include insurance contracts, school district contracts, early intervention services, and private pay. Additionally, the need for the development and implementation of comprehensive policies and procedures will be described. This includes ensuring that policies and procedures align with an appropriate accrediting body. Finally, the need for a comprehensive staff training and supervision process will be described. Solutions for challenges faced by medium-sized businesses will also be presented.

Leading a Large Scale Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Business: Challenges and Solutions

STEVE WOOLF (Butterfly Effects)

Running a business that operates in multiple states and multiple regions of the country, brings with it many issues beyond what the first two papers will describe. This session will focus on the following elements from the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Benefit others, Behave with Integrity, Ensuring Competence, Conforming with Legal and Professional Requirements; 1.07 Cultural Responsiveness and Diversity; 1.08 Non-discrimination; 1.09 Non-harassment; 2.01 Providing Effective Treatment; 2.03 and 2.04 Protecting and Disclosing Confidential Information; 2.05 Document Protection and Retention; 2.06 Accuracy in Service Billing and Reporting and 2.08 Communicating about Services. This paper session will include a discussion on the need to be aware of state mandates, various licensing laws, and the political and business climates within each state. Ethical dilemmas become larger with the scale of the business: more employees equals more challenges. This paper will highlight the challenges as well as present ethical solutions. The need for tiered business and clinical leadership will be discussed.

Paper 4: Effective Tiered Supervision in Large Companies
STEPHEN WOOD (Cultivate Behavior Management Corporation )
Abstract: Providing effective supervision with a large scale company results in more effective service delivery. This session will cover the following core principles: Benefit others, Behave with Integrity, and Ensuring Competence; and the following codes will be covered: 4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements; 4.02 Supervisory Competence; 4.03 Supervisory Volume; 4.04 Accountability in Supervision; 4.05 Maintaining Supervision Documentation; 4.06 Providing Supervision and Training; 4.07 Incorporating and Addressing Diversity; 4.08 Performance Monitoring and Feedback; 4.09 Delegation of Tasks; 4.10 Evaluating Effects of Supervision and Training; 4.11 Facilitating Continuity of Supervision; and 4.12 Appropriately Terminating Supervision This session will focus on the role of higher-level clinical leadership. Participants will learn strategies for managing oversight of clinical services in larger and/or growing organizations. Specifically, the presentation will focus on the role of tiered supervision in including the role of a Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Manager, and Clinical Director. Supervision of BCBAs will be discussed including the structure and function of 1:1 meetings including the development of an agenda and measures of progress and goal attainment. The role of compliance audits will also be discussed including documenting 5% RBT supervision and completion of session note audits.



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