Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #419
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethics and the Treatment of Problematic Sexual Behavior in Residential Settings
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1C/D
Area: DDA/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kimberly E. Church (Human Development Center)
CE Instructor: Kimberly E. Church, Psy.D.

While sexual behavior is not inherently problematic, contextually inappropriate sexual behavior can be harmful to both clients and communities. The purpose of this symposium is to present perspectives of those who have worked in the areas harmful or problematic sexual behavior, and to examine data-based decision making and ethical considerations for the clients and communities they serve.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): data-based, problematic sexual, sexually harmful

Ethics of Restricting Age-Appropriate Activities to Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities With Harmful Sexual Behavior

DUNCAN PRITCHARD (Aran Hall School), Veda Richards (The Senad Group), Heather Penney (Aran Hall School), F. Charles Mace (Aran Hall School)

A multi-component behavioral intervention (MCBI) was associated with a reduction in severe problem behavior, including harmful sexual behavior in some young people attending a residential program in a rural area of the UK. Those young people who adhered to the program earned access to the internet and social media and also participated in staff supported community-based activities such as attending college and work experience. These young people were also allowed to travel further from the school to go to, for example, the cinema, sports events, and restaurants. Those young people who did not adhere to the program by not demonstrating consistent levels of safe and appropriate were denied access to some of these activities. The ethical considerations of denying young people access to age-appropriate activities will be discussed.

Overview of a Sexual Behavior Treatment Package Combining Rule Governed and Contingency Shaped Behavioral Interventions
STEPHANI FAUERBACH (Human Development Center), Kimberly E. Church (Human Development Center), Ashley Tomaka (Human Development Center)
Abstract: Due to ethical and safety considerations in treating problematic sexual behavior, it is often necessary to truncate baselines and accelerate the assessment process to initiate treatment designed to prevent further occurrences of harmful behavior. Antecedent manipulations, including verbal descriptions of behavioral contingencies, combined with shaping may provide an effective way to prevent or reduce the occurrence of problematic sexual behavior and promote pro-social behaviors. An overview and longitudinal clinical data for a residential treatment package for adult males diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, co-occurring mental health disorders and a history of problematic sexual behavior will be presented. Training includes programs on societal rules for appropriate sexual behavior, along with the consequences of appropriate or inappropriate behavioral responses. Clinical case examples illustrating a long-term data driven treatment process incorporating the use of rule and consequence anticipation as an adjunct to treatment will be provided, along with suggestions for applied research.
Real World Examples of Ethical Code Applications for Behavior Analytic Treatment of Sexual Offending Behavior
ASHLEY TOMAKA (Human Development Center), Kimberly E. Church (Human Development Center), Stephani Fauerbach (Human Development Center)
Abstract: Ethical considerations are an integral part of service delivery in behavior analysis, especially when the focus of treatment is problematic sexual behavior. In this presentation, case examples requiring ethically sound data-based decisions will be presented and discussed while highlighting relevant elements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB’s) Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (the “Code”). Common ethical dilemmas arising in service provision include balancing individual rights and community safety, designing effective treatment targeting covert or low frequency behavior, and assessing treatment effectiveness and planning for appropriate treatment fadeout. Clinical data will be presented to illustrate real world examples of how these challenges may be addressed safely and effectively. Clinical findings support an individualized data-based approach based on ongoing assessment through probes and in situ monitoring.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh