American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

A Ten Step Process for Resolving Ethical Issues

In the publication Ethics and IDEA, A Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Who Provide Services Under IDEA (ASHA 2003), the authors provide a ten step process for addressing ethical issues in the schools:

  1. Identify the problem as you see it.
  2. Get the story straight - gather relevant data. (Federal, state, and local regultations, professional practice documents, ASHA Code of Ethics)
  3. Ask yourself if the problem is a regulatory issue or a process issue related to regulatory requirements.
  4. Compare the issue to a specific rule in ASHA's Code of Ethics. Determine if rules the Code of Ethics apply to your problem and can help develop a course of action for you to pursue.
  5. Identify who has the power and control in the situation.
  6. Identify what is in your control and what is not.
  7. Identify your resources. These can be a supervisor, special education director, or colleague.  Ask yourself if you need more information, clarification, or ideas from others who have had a similar problem.
  8. Make a list of possible actions and their positive and negative consequences.
  9. Make a plan that you can defend professionally and ethically and that meets the requirements of the regulations.
  10. Take action and evaluate your plan as you proceed. Determine next steps.

In addition to the above, this publication provides definitions of basic terms associated with ethics and IDEA and a selection of instructional vignettes that typify some of the experiences and ethical challenges that can confront speech-language pathologists and audiologists in their practice.  Included in the appendices are web resources, selected articles and references. This item is available from  Product Sales Online or by calling 888-498-6699. The cost is $79 for members, $99 for non-members.

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