The Role of Compassion and Ethics in Decision-Making Regarding Access to Applied Behavior Analysis Services During the COVID-19 Crisis 

Original Webinar Date: June 17, 2020

CEU offered: 1.0 BACB Ethics CEU

Short Title:  Compassion & Ethics in Decision-Making/ABA during COVID19

Webinar Duration: 65 min

CE Instructors:

  • Linda LeBlanc, Ph.D, BCBA-D
  • Junie Lazo-Pearson, Ph.D, BCBA-D
  • Joy Pollard, Ph.D, BCBA-D
  • Lorri Unumb, Esq. 


Cox, Plavnick, & Brodhead (2020) published a position statement in the emergency section of BAP in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They argued against a blanket interpretation that in-person ABA services for all patients should continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. They strongly argued that the risks of continued services are almost always prohibitive and that only in rare cases would continuation of in-person services be warranted. Columbo, Wallace & Taylor (2020) soon thereafter published a response to the article pointing out the potential dangers associated with the position and paper of Cox et al. They included a detailed decision model to assist providers in making nuanced and informed data-based decisions that provide the opportunity to honor the ethical responsibility for not abandoning patients. We echo the importance of the Columbo et al. response and add points of response centered on balanced ethical decision-making informed by compassionate family-centered care. LeBlanc, Lazo-Pearson, Pollard, & Unumb (2020)

Learning Objectives:

Objective #1: Attendees will be able to identify at least 2 ethical concerns associated with the view that the risks of continued ABA services during COVID-19 are almost always prohibitive.

Objective #2: Attendees will be able to identify 2 code elements pertinent to the suggestion that balanced ethical decision-making should be informed by compassionate family-centered care.


PhD, BCBA-D, Licensed Psychologist

Linda LeBlanc

Linda A. LeBlanc, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Licensed Psychologist is the President of LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting.  She previously served as a professor at Claremont McKenna College, Western Michigan University and Auburn University.  She served as the Executive Director of Trumpet Behavioral Health from 2012-2017, leading the creation of large-scale systems for clinical standards, quality assurance, and research. She established LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting in 2017 and now consults to technology companies, universities, and behavior analytic human service organizations. Her research interests include behavioral treatment of autism, technology-based behavioral interventions, supervision and mentorship, leadership, and systems development in human services. She is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the 2016 recipient of the American Psychological Association Nathan H. Azrin Award for Distinguished Contribution in Applied Behavior Analysis.


Junie Lazo-Pearson

Dr. Lazo-Pearson is the Chief Clinical Officer of Advanced Behavioral Health. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas. While there, she worked with children diagnosed with Emotional Behavior Disorder/Severe Emotional Disturbance. She was part of a multidisciplinary team at the KU Medical Center assessing and diagnosing children with autism. For over 10 years, Dr. Lazo was a member of the board of directors for CalABA. She was selected to Chair the Insurance Workgroup as part of the Orange County Autism Task Force under the Senate Select Committee for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Currently, she serves as the Behavioral Health Representative on the Provider Advisory Committee for CalOptima and is the Chair of Behavioral Services for the Regional Center of Orange County providers. Dr. Lazo-Pearson has been an invited speaker at regional and national conferences and organizations.


Joy Pollard

Dr. Joy Pollard is the Co-founder and CEO of Clinical Operations at Behavior Change Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in Disability Disciplines, with a Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis and her clinical experience has spanned across the home, clinical, school, and residential home settings. Dr. Pollard serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where she provides clinical supervision and collaborates on research focused on children with ASD and neurogenetic syndromes. Her research and clinical practice have focused extensively on practitioner capacity building initiatives and pioneering telehealth applications to increase access to medically necessary ABA treatment for individuals living in rural and geographically isolated areas. Her scholarly publications include articles on ethical considerations in the design and implementation of telehealth service delivery models and she has served as a subject matter expert for the Telehealth Guidelines by the Council for Autism Service Providers (CASP).