Ethical Conduct Made EZ



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Dear Parents/Caregivers,

I'm talking to you, and only you, with this post.

There are specific expectations we have of the professionals we regularly interact with (doctors, teachers, attorneys) based on the professional and ethical standards of their field. Even if we don't know exactly what those standards are, most of us have a good idea of what SHOULD happen, and how we should be treated.

For example, most people expect their child's teacher to not belittle, or curse at their child.
Most people expect their doctor to protect their private medical information.
Most people expect a police officer to help you during an emergency.

If someone is presenting themselves as a professional, then they should act like a professional in their demeanor, words, and practice.

So let's talk about ABA providers specifically--

Did you know that the professional field of Behavior Analysis has specific ethical standards just like any other profession? If this is news to you, please peruse our ethical guidelines.

As a parent, you may be wondering how to evaluate the quality of the ABA provider you receive services from. I hear many, many variations of this question from parents all over the world: "How do I know if this company is any good or not??".

This handy resource may assist you with knowing what to look for.

But more important than a resource, is knowing for yourself what makes a quality Registered Behavior Technician, Board Certified-Assistant Behavior Analyst, or Board Certified-Behavior Analyst.
To help you with that, I've included a simple list below, and also a visual reminder. Print it. Tape it to your fridge. Share it with your friends. Call a meeting with your current ABA provider and review it together.


EZ ABA Ethical Guidelines:

Your ABA provider must work within the boundaries of their expertise. Unless they have access to resources/a supervisor who can train them on what they don't currently know, they should refer you to someone else if they don't know how to help you. Guidelines 1.02, 2.01

Your ABA provider should strive to be truthful and honest, and to avoid engaging in unethical or illegal actions. Guideline 1.04

Your ABA provider should communicate with you in an easy to understand manner, explaining any clinical terms simply, so that you fully understand what is happening in therapy. Guideline 1.05

Your ABA provider should not accept gifts from you, socialize with you outside of therapy sessions, babysit your children, attend your wedding anniversary party, or be considered a "friend". Guideline 1.06

Your ABA provider should explain your parent rights to you when services begin, and should also provide you with information about how to report them/file a complaint about them if you have any issue with the quality of their services. Guideline 2.05

Your ABA provider should strive to protect your confidentiality. Legally, there are specific circumstances under which we have to break confidentiality, and ethically, your ABA provider should tell you what those circumstances are. Guideline 2.06


Your ABA provider should keep accurate records about treatment, and use them to evaluate if treatment is effective, if the pros outweigh the cons, and if treatment should continue. As the parent, you also have the right to speak up if YOU think treatment is not effective/beneficial. Guidelines 2.09, 2.11

What you will pay for services, and when you will pay it, should be upfront and transparent when services begin. When you open the first invoice, there should not be an ugly shock. Guideline 2.12

ABA providers do not just abandon clients. If services need to discontinue, you should know why, be given a timeline of transition, and the provider should help connect you to another provider (as possible). Guideline 2.15

You should know your child's ABA goals. You should know the behavior strategies being used. You should know how your child is progressing. ALL of this should be simply explained to you, and you must agree with how treatment occurs. If you do not give consent, then it should not happen. Guidelines 3.01, 3.03, 3.04, 4.02, 4.04, 4.08

Your ABA program supervisor only takes on as much work as they can handle, and is responsible for training the direct care staff. The supervisor is also responsible for training you, and if needed, collaborating with your child's teacher, Speech Therapist, etc. Guidelines 5.01, 5.02, 5.06

ABA providers do not solicit clients through manipulative advertising, or glowing testimonials on their website. We also should not walk up to you in public and thrust a business card at you. All of that is unethical. Guidelines 8.05


I hope it helps you!

The I Love ABA Blog


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