A Call for Discussion About Scope of Competence in Behavior Analysis
The field of behavior analysis has defined its scope of practice through credentialing and licensure efforts. However, scope of competence in behavior analysis has received little discussion. Scope of competence refers to activities that the individual practitioner can perform at a certain criterion level (e.g., the functional analysis is conducted accurately and safely, a skill acquisition program includes critical program components and establishes accurate stimulus control). Given the successful efforts of behavior analysts in growth and recognition of the field, it is time for a robust conversation about scope of competence for the field of behavior analysis. This discussion can clarify how behavior analysts self-evaluate their own scope of competence and how they might expand their scope of competence if the needs of consumers require practitioners to expand into new areas.
KeywordsBehavior analysis Ethics Scope of competence Scope of practice
The authors would like to thank Dr. Linda LeBlanc and the five anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, edits, and suggestions on multiple versions of this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2014). Professional and ethical compliance code for behavior analysts. Retrieved from http://bacb.com/ethics-code/
- Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2018). Continuing education. Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/maintain/continuing-education/
- Brethower, D., & Smalley, K. (1998). Performance-based instruction: Linking training to business results. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.Google Scholar
- Brodhead, M. T., Cox, S. P., & Quigley, S. P. (2018). Practical ethics for effective treatment of autism spectrum disorder. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Brodhead, M. T., Durán, L., & Bloom, S. E. (2014). Cultural and linguistic diversity in recent verbal behavior research on individuals with disabilities: A review and implications for research and practice. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 75–86. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40616-014-0009-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Burning Glass Technologies. (2015). US behavior analyst workforce: Understanding the national demand for behavior analysts. Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/151009-burning-glass-report.pdf
- Eldevik, S., Hastings, R. P., Hughes, J. C., Jahr, E., Eikeseth, S., & Cross, S. (2010). Using participant data to extend the evidence for intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115, 381–405. https://doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-115.5.381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Friman, P. C., & Piazza, C. C. (2011). Behavioral pediatrics: Integrating applied behavior analysis with pediatric medicine. In W. Fisher, C. Piazza, & H. Roane (Eds.), Handbook of applied behavior analysis (pp. 433–450). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 (2004).Google Scholar
- King Jr., C. L., & Cennamo, K. (2016). The use of Gilbert’s behavioral engineering model to identify barriers to technology integration in a public school. In G. Chamblee & L. Langub (Eds.), Proceedings of the society for information technology & teacher education international conference (pp. 1224–1228). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.Google Scholar
- Kodak, T., & Grow, L. L. (2011). Behavioral treatment of autism. In W. W. Fisher, C. C. Piazza, & H. S. Roane (Eds.), Handbook of applied behavior analysis (pp. 402–416). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Koegel, R. L., & Koegel, L. K. (2012). The PRT pocket guide: Pivotal response treatment for autism spectrum disorders. London, UK: Paul H. Brooks Publishing.Google Scholar
- Li, A., & Poling, A. (2018). Board certified behavior analysts and psychotropic medications: Slipshod training, inconsistent involvement, and reason for hope. Behavior Analysis in Practice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-0237-9.
- Malott, M. E. (2003). The paradox of organizational change: Engineering organizations with behavioral systems analysis. Reno, NV: Context Press.Google Scholar
- Matson, J. L., Horovitz, M., Mahan, S., & Fodstad, J. (2012). Reliability of the Matson evaluation of social skills with youngsters (MESSY) for children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 405–410. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2012.10.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2. Randolph, MA: Author.Google Scholar
- Ontario Association for Behavior Analysis. (2017). Evidence-based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Recommendations for caregivers, practitioners, and policymakers. Retrieved from http://www.ontaba.org/pdf/ONTABA%20OSETT-ASD%20REPORT%20WEB.pdf
- Piazza, C. C., Fisher, W. W., Brown, K. A., Shore, B. A., Patel, M. R., Katz, R. M., … Blakely-Smith, A. (2003). Functional analysis of inappropriate mealtime behaviors. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36, 187–204. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2003.36-187.
- Quigley, S. P., Blevins, P. R., Cox, D. J., Brodhead, M. T., & Kim, S. Y. (2018). An evaluation of the ethical implications of telehealth research with individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/bar0000094.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 34 C.F.R. § 504, Part 104.Google Scholar
- Reid, D. H., Parsons, M. B., & Green, C. W. (2012). The supervisor’s guidebook: Evidence-based strategies for promoting work quality and enjoyment among human service staff. Morganton, NC: Habilitative Management Consultants.Google Scholar
- Rosenberg, N. E., & Schwartz, I. S. (in press). Guidance or compliance: What makes an ethical behavior analyst? Behavior Analysis in Practice.Google Scholar
- Schreibman, L., Dawson, G., Stahmer, A. C., Landa, R., Rogers, S. J., McGee, G. G., … Halladay, A. (2015). Naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions: Empirically validated treatments for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 2411–2428. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2407-8.
- Wilczynski, S. M. (2017). A practical guide to finding treatments that work for people with autism. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Wong, C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K. A., Cox, A. W., Fettig, A., Kucharczyk, S., … Schultz, T. R. (2015). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder: A comprehensive review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 1951–1966. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2351-z.