Evidence-based Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis: Where Science Meets Practice
The evidence-based practice of applied behavior analysis involves the integration of the best available evidence gleaned from the literature with professional judgment and client values/context. The phrase “evidence-based practice” does not imply that practitioners should randomly select among treatments identified in evidence-based practice guidelines or systematic reviews. This presentation reviews each of the components of evidence-based practice but highlights the importance of client and contextual variables that should influence treatment selection. Behavior analytic literature focusing on client variables (e.g., medical conditions that may serve as motivating operations) and contextual variables (e.g., environmental and resource constraint) will be used to demonstrate why these variables are essential to effective clinical decision-making. Parental role in the determination of client and contextual variables will be given a prominent position in the discussion because the least effective intervention is the one that is never used. Parents must consider variables other than the level of empirical evidence support a given treatment. The recent results of the National Autism Center’s National Standards Project 2.0 will be briefly incorporated into the discussion in conjunction with a larger focus on providing appropriate behavior analytic services to clients on the spectrum.
Scope of Practice: Ethical Foundations and a Path to Move Forward
All fields of practice include in their ethical code a mandate for practitioners to provide services and supervision as well as to conduct research within the boundaries of their expertise. This presentation outlines the scope of practice provision of the new Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts that goes into effect in January, 2016. Practical application of this Code will be provided, with examples and non-examples offered to clarify “gray” areas in real world service, supervision, and research. The role this provision plays in a larger discussion about how third-party payers may enhance or restrict service delivery will be addressed. The importance of applying this expectation in the ethical code for the long-term benefits to both clients and our own field will be underscored.