Special Education Lecture Notes

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Ensuring Ethical Practices in the Delivery of Positive Behavior
Introduction
Ethics refers to questions of right and wrong. Ethical professional conduct within the field of education ultimately relates to the potential to cause harm (or benefit) to the student. Ethical conduct requires that the practitioner stay within the bounds of the ethical procedures developed for the discipline that the individual is practicing. Ethical conduct standards are based in common sense (in regards to potential harm to individuals/student) as well as cumulative knowledge, formalized as codes and standards developed by professional groups within the field that is not always obvious as a potential cause/source of harm. This information describes the ethical standards of conduct, elaborated as general themes, as they relate to behavior interventions.
The Nine Organizing Themes for Understanding Ethical Practices
Several professional fields have codes of ethics related to conduct with children who have behavioral needs. In addition, there is still debate regarding how to influence the behavior of children, but Figure 3-1 of textbook (Wheeler & Rickey, 2009), summarizes the key elements that underpin ethical practice in the field of behavior management. The nine themes in Figure 3-1 are probably more powerful than reading codes of ethics because they strike at the essential core of what is really required to prevent harm and to foster positive outcome for students. It is important to internalize these themes because the understanding of these themes provides an excellent guide toward the right action in most situations involving maladaptive behavior as well as in the design of behavior plans.
Behavior Interventions and Ethical Standards of Conduct
Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) is very consistent with the ethical themes described in Figure 3-1 in the textbook (Wheeler & Rickey, 2009). Note the consistencies of PBS in relationship to several of the nine themes of ethics.



References: Wheeler, J., & Rickey, D. (2009). Behavior management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH.   © 2010. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.

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