A 10-Step Process for Resolving Ethical Issues

The following is a 10-step process for addressing ethical issues in schools:

  1. Identify the problem as you see it.
  2. Get the story straight—gather relevant data. (including 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 one that meets the requirements of the regulations.
  10. Take action and evaluate your plan as you proceed to determine next steps.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007). Ethics and IDEA: A guide for speech-language pathologists and audiologists who provide services under IDEA (Rev. ed.) [First edition published 2003].

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