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The Behavior Analyst in Schools: Ethics, Rules and Reinforcement

2 hours, 50 minutes
3.0 BACB: Ethics
Andrew Houvouras

“One of the hallmarks of Applied Behavior Analysis is relying on experimental methods to help demonstrate function or demonstrate the efficacy of some type of treatment. When you work within schools it’s an incredible challenge to try to be systematic.”

Andrew J. Houvouras


Interdisciplinary teams devise and implement educational plans for children with special learning challenges. Sometimes, these involve a behavior analyst. Whether you are a behavior analyst thinking about working in schools, currently working in schools, or working alongside a school’s behavior analyst, you know schools have teams of several people who contribute to each child’s education plan. As with any professional, behavior analysts bring their own frameworks and skills to working with teachers and children. Merging that framework with those of other professionals can be difficult. At the end of the day, the entire team must prioritize concerns and coordinate plans and solutions.  In this course, Andrew Houvouras addresses common issues one might encounter in the public-school setting—how to ethically resolve those issues and make decisions with the child’s best interest in mind. He also reviews the key factors that impact decisions for more severe cases—how to present data in a digestible format for non-behavior analysts and mediate conversations during interdisciplinary meetings.

Learning Objectives

What you’ll learn in the course and be able to do afterward

  1. Given detailed explanations of the BACB ethical code applicable to a school setting, you will 
    • describe two challenges of working in schools;
    • identify three elements of success that are attainable in schools;
    • explain one rule about mandated reporting for behavior analysts.
  2. Educational plans for children can vary greatly and offer the behavior analysts ways to interact with other professionals, which requires them to 
    • identify other types of professionals and describe their roles in the educational program; 
    • describe how to conduct assessments in a school setting;
    • prioritize areas of need and select targets based on each child’s present level and overall best interest;
    • cite two examples of severe cases in schools and their results.


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