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 #276
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethical Considerations for Behavior Analysts Surrounding Training Experiences and Service Termination
Sunday, May 26, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 104 AB
Area: DDA/TBA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Swathi Ragulan (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Swathi Ragulan, Master in Applied Behavior Analysis
Abstract: Ethics training within behavior analysis, including the structure and content of these trainings, are fluid and constantly evolving. However, it is crucial that behavior analysts receive ethics training that prepare and support them in their daily practice. In this symposium, we will attempt to describe the current state of ethics training as experienced and reported by behavior analysts and delve into one important topic for training, service termination. First, Swathi Ragulan will describe behavior analysts' experiences with their ethics training via data gathered from a survey of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts-Doctoral, with significant implications for ethics guidelines and training requirements for the field. Next, Emma Devine, will discuss challenges related to unplanned service termination along with related resources available to behavior analysts. Finally, Jesenia Giambrone will review these resources available to behavior analysts and discuss ethical approaches and strategies to service termination.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: This presentation is at an intermediate instruction level, so the the target audience should have the prerequisite skills to critically evaluate their ethics trainings related to pre-certification coursework, CE's, and current environment support. Generally the target population that has experienced these three domains of ethics training (e.g., BCaBAs, BCBAs, and BCBA-Ds) will be benefit from the recommendations proposed by the presentation related to ethics CE topics and activities and ongoing supports in their current environment. It would also be beneficial if the target audience has prerequisite skills related to ongoing service evaluation (e.g., insurance funding, client goal evaluation, etc.). Generally the target population that engages in these skills includes BCaBAs, BCBAs, and BCBA-Ds. RBT's may also benefit from this presentation in relation to training for their board certification.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify and state their experiences with their ethics trainings along with the potential gaps and related solutions for these trainings; (2) describe the challenges that behavior analysts may face with respect to service termination; (3) assess and compare various approaches and strategies to ethical service termination.
A Survey of Ethics-Related Training Within Behavior Analysis
(Applied Research)
SWATHI RAGULAN (University of Nevada, Reno), Julia Schweiger (Technical University of Dresden), Bethany P. Contreras Young (University of Nevada, Reno), Alexis Hanna (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Ethics guidelines, trainings, and continuing education requirements are frequently updated to reflect the ongoing need to better prepare behavior analysts to face ethical dilemmas in their daily practice (Brodhead et al., 2018). In terms of the ethics trainings that behavior analysts are currently experiencing, Contreras et al. (2021) argue that behavior analysts are potentially encountering a narrow and rigid set of trainings and resources, which may then necessitate an expanded approach to ethics. If behavior analysts are not adequately trained and are not supported in developing their ethical repertoire, then these gaps in training can detrimentally impact clients served as well as the field at large. The present study aimed to survey practitioners (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts- Doctoral) in the field on their ethics training experiences in supporting their ethical daily practices using questions targeted towards pre-certification ethics coursework, ethics continuing education units, and ongoing environmental supports. Data suggest that several factors significantly impact practitioner’s perception of their ethics trainings (e.g., preparedness and relevance) to complete their job responsibilities in compliance with the BACB Ethics Code. Implications for ethics guidelines and training requirements for the field are discussed.
Service Termination: Concerns for Behavior Analysts
(Service Delivery)
Jesenia Giambrone (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida), EMMA RENEE DEVINE (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Behavior analysts providing clinical services occasionally encounter situations in which those services must be interrupted, discontinued, or transitioned to another provider. The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts and other frequently used resources outline how behavior analysts should handle planned and unplanned service disruptions. We examine a variety of resources available to behavior analysts relating to this topic and identify challenges related to unplanned service termination. The authors have identified common themes that lead to unplanned service terminations, including funding changes, a shortage in necessary resources, lack of clinical progress, as well as administrative and financial pressures. We relate these common themes to the areas identified by the Ethics Code and other available resources, and outline where gaps exist in recommendations for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Our goal is to utilize scenarios to assess common obstacles leading to unplanned service termination, evaluating their impact on service continuity and the broader field.
Service Termination: Recommendations for Behavior Analysts
(Service Delivery)
JESENIA GIAMBRONE (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)
Abstract: We will be exploring the challenges faced by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) when unplanned service termination arises. After reviewing the scenarios provided in the second presentation of this symposium, as well as the resources available to behavior analysts (including the Ethics Code, Council of Autism Service Providers recommendations, the BACB’s Continuity of Services Toolkit, textbooks, and other published literature), we discuss ethical approaches to addressing unplanned service termination at the individual level and more broadly as a field. Using the scenarios provided, we will propose additional ethical practices to navigate complex situations, emphasizing the role of clinical supervisors and agency management in supporting BCBAs during both planned and unplanned service interruptions. We will address a range of pertinent issues, including potential cultural conflicts, shifts in funding, resource limitations, slow progress, as well as administrative and financial pressures, aiming to offer comprehensive insights into overcoming these barriers with ethical considerations in mind.



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