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Being an Ethical Behavior Analyst

To be a behavior analyst means you adhere to the ethics code put out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Navigating it can be a rocky path, but if you keep in mind the idea of "Do No Harm" as you practice and continually refer to the code, you will be fine.

Scope of Practice

Make sure that you are practicing only what you know. If you there is something that comes up that you haven't studied find a mentor to help you navigate until you have learned more. You can do harm to the client by practicing outside your expertise. Refer to the ethical code for guidance.

Locations for ABA

ABA can be used anywhere. Typically, you will practice in either a clinic, a school, home setting, or the community. Some skills are easier to teach at a table, such as handwriting practice, but to better generalize skills, you should be teaching in all environments.

Use Reinforcement First

Despite what you might hear, ethical behavior analysts use reinforcement above all other things. There was a time in the past when that wasn't the case, but like all science, we evolved. Consider reinforcement first and only after you've exhausted every possible intervention using reinforcement should you consider using punishment.

What ABA is Not

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the science of behavior used to teach new or change existing behavior of social significance to the learner and those in their environment. It is not an intervention. Interventions are based on the principles of ABA. It is not Discrete Trial Training (DTT) or Table Time. That is an intervention that uses ABA principles. It is not the brainchild of Ivar Lovaas. He piloted DTT but based that on ABA principles that were established by Skinner. It is not trying to cure anything. ABA is used to teach new skills or improve skills someone already has. It can reduce behavior that interferes with learning. Finally, ABA is not just for autism. The principles of ABA apply to everything. Because it is a science, the tenets are universal. 

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