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Episode #135: The Importance of Assent – A Conversation with Dr. Cody Morris

My guest today Dr. Cody Morris is an asset to the field; his goals include improving the practice of BCBAs, by Improving assessment and treatment methodologies regarding problem behavior and addressing organizational challenges in delivering services.

Today we discuss Assent, its importance, and how to gain it even when a client is not yet speaking.  Dr. Morris makes a very important comparison in definitions between Consent and Assent. 

Consent: the affirmation that an individual who is legally authorized gives permission for themselves or another person to participate.

Assent: the affirmation that an individual who is not legally authorized to provide their own consent, affirms their willingness to participate.

Both of these are incredibly important. Consent has many legalities that affirm participation. Assent, on the other hand, can be difficult to confirm when a child has limited or no communication skills. There are multiple ways to gain assent. 1, through Verbal statements, or 2, through Behavior Allocation. 

Assent can be obtained when a student’s behavior allocates the confirmation to engage through choice. Choice does not mean the student decides all goals and treatment, but as Dr. Morris and I discuss, small choices affirm engagement and build grander decision making skills. 

In our conversation today, Dr. Cody Morris and I discuss some important fundamentals of behavior analysis that heavily involve Assent as a best practice. You can find out more about Dr. Morris’s work and research in the provided links.

#autism #speechtherapy

Today’s Guest:

Dr. Cody Morris is an Assistant Professor, Graduate Program Director of Behavior Analysis, and Chair of the IRB at Salve Regina University. He earned his doctorate in Psychology: Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University.

The overarching goal of Cody’s research and clinical focus is improving the practice of behavior analysis. To this end, Cody’s research has two major concentrations. The first and primary concentration is improving assessment and treatment methodologies for severely challenging behavior in clinical settings. The second concentration is addressing organizational issues related to the delivery of behavior analysis.

Cody has published works in prominent behavior analytic journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. He has served as a Reviewer for multiple behavior analytic journals and a Guest Associate Editor for Perspectives on Behavior Science and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Currently, Cody is the Director of the Executive Board for the Rhode Island Association for Behavior Analysis and the Executive Producer and Host of Behavior Analysis in Practice- The Podcast

What’s Inside:

  • Consent versus Assent in affirming participation.
  • How to gain assent with children who are not yet speaking?
  • Tools and tips for gaining assent.
  • Assent through choice in treatment.
  • Assent through behavior allocation.
  • How to provide gradual choice despite communication skills.

Mentioned In This Episode

Dr. Cody Morris on LinkedIn
Cody MORRIS | Assistant Professor | Ph.D. | Salve Regina University, Rhode Island | Department of Psychology | Research profile

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