Practical Ethics: Book improves daily practices for BCBAs

March 16, 2018

A forthcoming publication by a Michigan State University scholar will bridge the gap between questions of ethics and day-to-day practices for professionals working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Practical Ethics for Effective Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” co-written by Assistant Professor Matt Brodhead, is set to be published in June 2018 by Elsevier.

Matt Brodhead

The book explores ethics, principles, values and professionalism for Board Certified Behavior Analysts ® (BCBAs)—such as evidence-based practices, supervision and treatment—and how to incorporate these larger themes into their everyday work. The result creates guidelines that work for professionals of all expertise levels.

“No matter where you are in your career, this book has diverse relevant information for practice,” said Brodhead, an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. “Ethical codes are critical for professionals to follow, but can sometimes be very vague. We intertwined ethical codes into common practices, fulfilling them in an ethical way. It’s a novel and unique approach, giving another perspective that takes into consideration the real world.”

The book is an example of “what to do” compared to “what not to do” in research, classroom and observational settings. It expands on often under-discussed topics that are integral to practice.

“We’re looking to make discussions of ethics consumable for practitioners, not just theory-based,” Brodhead added.

Expanded MSU applications

The book was co-written with two of Brodhead’s friends and regular collaborators on research: David Cox and Shawn Quigley. The trio had written two papers together previously, and help “make each others work better.” Though they each had individual contributions, together they created and coordinated the effort. Brodhead sees the impact of the book having a similar collaborative and motivational effect at MSU and beyond.

Brodhead is part of the Early Learning Institute (ELI), a unique program developed by MSU researchers to meet the early intervention needs of children with autism spectrum disorders. Brodhead manages and oversees research at ELI, ensuring that everything is compliant and meets with regulations and therapy goals.

The book will help inform the practices of those currently working with and at ELI—but also those who are preparing to go into the field. Brodhead anticipates that the book will be incorporated into MSU curriculum in fall 2018 (particularly in the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analytics program), and be used across multiple courses.

“Ethics and professionalism happens on a day-to-day basis,” Brodhead said. “This book will help practitioners implement these in a concrete way.”

“Practical Ethics” is available for pre-order before its June 1 publication. 


Related links:

Explore the opportunities and research of the Early Learning Institute: earlylearning.msu.edu

Learn more about Brodhead and his research: mattbrodhead.com