Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 70–78

Maintaining Professional Relationships in an Interdisciplinary Setting: Strategies for Navigating Nonbehavioral Treatment Recommendations for Individuals with Autism

Discussion and Review Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s40617-015-0042-7

Cite this article as:
Brodhead, M.T. Behav Analysis Practice (2015) 8: 70. doi:10.1007/s40617-015-0042-7


Due to an increase in research and clinical application of behavior analysis with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one setting a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) may work within is an interdisciplinary setting, where multiple disciplines collaborate to improve the outcomes of individuals with ASD. In some cases, nonbehavioral colleagues could recommend nonbehavioral treatments, setting the occasion for the BCBA to offer an alternative treatment to or question the nonbehavioral treatment. However, excessive questioning or critiques of nonbehavioral treatments by the BCBA may unintentionally erode professional relationships between the BCBA and their nonbehavioral colleagues. Because an erosion of professional relationships may occur when a BCBA questions a nonbehavioral treatment, a decision-making model for determining whether or not the proposed nonbehavioral treatment is worth addressing may be useful. The purpose of this paper is to outline such a decision-making model in order to assist the BCBA in assessing nonbehavioral treatments while maintaining an ethical balance between professional relationships and the well-being and safety of the individual with ASD. Such a model could assist the BCBA in becoming familiar with the proposed treatment, understanding the perspective of the nonbehavioral colleague and assessing the negative impacts the treatment could have on the individual with ASD. With this information, the BCBA will be in a better position to decide whether or not addressing the nonbehavioral treatment is worth the possibility of eroding a professional relationship.


Ethics Autism Applied behavior analysis Interdisciplinary 

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Studies, College of EducationPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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