Navigating an Ethical, Behavioral Worldview in Uncharted or Hazardous Waters

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About the presentation: 

Navigating clinical ABA practice can be difficult with ongoing exposure to the variety of non-ABA interventions, marketed and packaged ABA interventions, and newly developed ABA applications. On their clinical journey, behavior analysts may encounter hazardous situations (e.g., requests to use non-evidence based treatments within collaborative situations or surviving attacks against ABA) or unclear and uncharted waters (i.e., possibly appropriate and ethical, but not yet scientifically supported treatments). Navigating these uncharted, and possibly hazardous, waters requires significant ethical knowledge and strategies. This presentation will provide participants with information about (a) how behavior analysts may be struggling within their clinical practices, (b) the obstacles they may encounter resulting in ethical misdirection, (c) ethical guidelines related to the necessity for scientific, evidence-based clinical practice, and (d) navigational strategies to lead them to ethical behavior.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify trends in behavior analysts’ use of evidence-based and non-evidence based treatments and obstacles to ethical behavior.
  • Participants will identify the ethical guidelines related to using non-evidence and evidence-based treatments in behavior analysis practice.
  • Participants will provide strategies for navigating these uncharted and hazardous waters.

About the presenters:

Dr. Kimberly Anne Schreck is a Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg.  She studied Psychology at Capital University in Bexley, OH, and earned her doctorate at The Ohio State University – specializing in intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Schreck is a licensed Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level.  After completion of her doctorate, Dr. Schreck held a Pediatric Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.   While there, she specialized in assessment and treatment of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and early intensive behavioral intervention in autism.  

Dr. Schreck started as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg in 1999.  In her first two years at Penn State, Dr. Schreck co-created the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s degree at Penn State Harrisburg and served as the Professor in Charge of the program for approximately 13 years.  She also served as the first Chair of the Social Science and Psychology Division at Penn State Harrisburg.  

Dr. Schreck’s clinical and research interests include ethical practices and evidence-based treatment, autism (e.g., feeding and sleep), intellectual and developmental disabilities (e.g., MPS-IIIA), interventions for skill acquisition, and children’s behavior issues.  

Dr. Schreck has become increasingly interested in studying why people choose to use non-scientifically supported treatments. She and her students have studied influences on treatment choice such as media, professional recommendations, and colleague persuasion that may convince parents and professionals to use these treatments. Dr. Schreck has published over 30 articles, reviews, and portions of books and given 100s of presentations in the areas of her research interests. While serving on several editorial review boards and as a guest reviewer for a variety of psychology and behavior analysis journals, Dr. Schreck also served as a past associate editor of Behavioral Interventions.