Toward an Understanding of Assent with Individuals with Communication Disabilities

Cody Morris & Jessica Detrick
4.80 out of 5
(10 customer reviews)


BCBA CEUs: 1 Total CEU | 1 Ethics CEU

This presentation from the 2021 Michigan Autism Conference addresses the crucial aspect of seeking and obtaining assent from individuals with autism and developmental disabilities who face significant communication challenges. It emphasizes the importance of assent in both behavior analytic practice and research, and the limitations of traditional spoken and written methods for those with limited communication abilities. It proposes practical strategies for obtaining assent, introducing alternative methods suitable for clients who cannot express their assent through conventional means.

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Seeking and obtaining assent from clients and research participants is an important component of behavior analytic practice and research. However, typical assent procedures primarily rely on spoken and written communication that may not be feasible for individuals with significant communication difficulties. Thus, practitioners serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related developmental disabilities (DD) who have limited communication abilities may need to utilize alternative methods for seeking assent. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce assent and related terms and concepts, discuss the importance of assent, and propose practical strategies for obtaining assent with clients who cannot assent through traditional means.

About the Speakers

Cody Morris

Dr. Cody Morris is an Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director of Applied Behavior Analysis at Salve Regina University. He earned his doctorate in Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University, where he studied under Dr. Stephanie Peterson. Cody’s primary research interest is improving the practice of behavior analysis – which involves improving assessment and treatment techniques for challenging behavior, identifying and addressing barriers to practice, and exploring conceptual issues related to practice.

Jessica J. Detrick

Jessica J. Detrick, M.A., BCBA, LBA, is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Western Michigan University. She received her B.A. (2016) from the University of Iowa and M.A. (2018) from the University of Missouri. Jessica is a Project Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor of the Psychological Assessment and Treatment Services (PATS) team. PATS is a team of BCBAs working with Integrated Services of Kalamazoo who provide consultative services to adult and children consumers with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and emotional behavior disorders who engage in challenging behaviors.

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Below is the entire open-access version of this video. It does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU version of the module.

10 reviews for Toward an Understanding of Assent with Individuals with Communication Disabilities

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  1. Avatar

    This presentation covered an important and complex topic well.

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  2. Avatar

    A very important topic in ABA. I liked how much information was written on the slides- makes it easy to take notes.

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    Interesting topic.

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  4. Avatar

    Good presentation on the differences between consent and assent, and how to navigate getting assent for those with communication difficulties.

    (0) (0)
  5. Avatar

    Such and important reminder about a topic that gets easily overlooked, especially when working with younger or non-vocal populations. It was astounding to me how few articles actually noted how how they measured and gained consent.

    (0) (0)

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A portion of the proceeds from this module goes directly to the Michigan Autism Conference

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