ABA Service Model During Crisis
In the United States, applied behavior analysis (ABA) is broadly recognized as a medically necessary treatment for individuals diagnosed with autism and related disorders (Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, 2020, Guidelines for practicing applied behavior analysis during COVID-19 pandemic, Retrieved from https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.apbahome.net/resource/collection/1FDDBDD2-5CAF-4B2A-AB3F-DAE5E72111BF/APBA_Guidelines_-_Practicing_During_COVID-19_Pandemic_040920.pdf). We argue that this designation should not be called into question in light of a particular disaster and that it is critical to consider that an interruption of services can have long-lasting effects on the treatment of the individual (practitioners are ethically obligated to uphold the continuity of services while doing no harm). This dilemma might be ameliorated by a decision model that considers the prioritization of immediate needs, the vulnerability of clients, and the competency of service providers. Just as the medical field prioritizes immediate needs during crisis situations and defers routine appointments (e.g.,physicals, checkups), the ABA field can make similar evidence-based decisions. The purpose of the current article is to provide a decision model for ABA practitioners who find themselves questioning the need for essential service delivery during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this model goes beyond the needs of this crisis and can be applied to any emergency situation where services are at risk of interruption.