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Position Statement on the Use of Electric Shock in Treatment of Individuals with Disabilities

The Arizona Association for Behavior Analysis believes integrity is central to the behavior analytic journey towards equity, diversity, and inclusion. In the emerging discussions surrounding the use of Contingent Electric Skin Shock (CESS), it became apparent that the use of CESS is a matter of concern to AzABA members.  With the value of committed action and data analysis at its core, AzABA embarked upon an information gathering and a dissemination process to approach the topic of CESS.  A multi-step plan was enacted and included gathering member feedback, member discussions, information dissemination, and deliberation around the adoption of a position statement.  A survey was distributed to members to gather information regarding the level of knowledge surrounding the use of CESS. Overwhelmingly, the responses indicated a need for more information. Over 60% of the survey respondents reported minimal awareness of the practice of CESS or organizations utilizing CESS. Additionally, many of the respondents strongly opposed the use of CESS in their own professional practice and urged an organizational stance.  Following the survey, AzABA hosted a Town Hall for members to share and discuss their thoughts and questions surrounding the use of CESS.  The AZABA Board of Directors reviewed this information and engaged in robust conversations to carefully consider an approach to the lack of information, the responsibility of the Association to disseminate information, and the importance of adopting a statement congruent with our mission as an organization. 

The AzABA Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that positions of the Association are supported with actions consistent with the mission of furthering the practice of behavior analysis. In addition to the position statement on CESS, AZABA has developed a plan of action supporting the position. The Association is actively pursuing educational events to disseminate behavior analytic education in support of its statement.  Please stay tuned for future events and opportunities to participate in 2023!

For further information and resources about CESS, please click here.

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