Behavior Modification as a Value-Laden Technology: Implications for Selection of Intervention Strategies with Developmentally Handicapped Clients

William A. Mallory, Robert L. Russell


Many Developmentally handicapped clients have minimally-developed value systems and countercontrols. Behavior modifiers who work with these clients should be fully cognizant of the potential ethical biases of their technology. Professional practice is enhanced when staff identify with the forefront of the professional-ethical community, when staff and clients are viewed as equally entitled members of society, when treatment goals are determined independently of the treatment/teaching technology. The promulgation of optimal standards of professional practice is advocated and the Standards for Services/or Developmentally Disabled Individuals (JCAH, 1978) are considered in this regard. Implementation of the principle of least restrictive alternative is related to increasing the range of choices available to clients. The roles of the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the Behavior Management Committee (BMC), and Behavior Modification training teams are discussed.

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