Evidence-Based Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis
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Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBA-D Presented at the 2015 Michigan Autism Conference
Abstract: The evidence-based practice of applied behavior analysis involves the integration of the best available evidence gleaned from the literature with professional judgment and client values/context. The phrase “evidence-based practice” does not imply that practitioners should randomly select among treatments identified in evidence-based practice guidelines or systematic reviews. This presentation reviews each of the components of evidence-based practice but highlights the importance of client and contextual variables that should influence treatment selection. Behavior analytic literature focusing on client variables (e.g., medical conditions that may serve as motivating operations) and contextual variables (e.g., environmental and resource constraint) are used to demonstrate why these variables are essential to effective clinical decision-making. Parental role in the determination of client and contextual variables is given a prominent position in the discussion because the least effective intervention is the one that is never used. Parents must consider variables other than the level of empirical evidence support a given treatment. The recent results of the National Autism Center’s National Standards Project 2.0 are briefly incorporated into the discussion in conjunction with a larger focus on providing appropriate behavior analytic services to clients on the spectrum.