Morals, Ethics, and Responsibilities

Have you ever considered, I mean REALLY considered the responsibility we have to ourselves, our clients, and our profession? Of course you have…

We know we have a responsibility to keep up to date on research, to use evidence based practices in our clinical therapies, and to attempt to track our ever-widening (and often over-reaching) scope of practice…This helps our maintain our responsibility to our clients and profession (sort of).

But what about our responsibility to our fellow clinicians? That one is a bit trickier, isn’t it? Where does OUR responsibility end and THEIR responsibility begin? Is there a distinct line? 
road signThis idea has been knocking around trying to come out for a while…actually, since I’ve started looking at the new Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics documents from ASHA (2016…go read them if you haven’t yet!).

Which…really…should probably be the first responsibility to talk about. Do we, as SLPs and Audiologists, have a responsibility to keep up to date with the latest Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics? I would hazard to say that we do (particularly if you are a member of ASHA).

But…what about when things are less clear-cut. For instance, do App Authors (I’m including myself in this) and Teachers Pay Teachers sellers have a moral or ethical responsibility to make sure that the products they create are grounded in research? Do they have the responsibility to convey that fact (whether they are or aren’t grounded in research and to what level) to you as the consumer? (note: I’m not talking about motivational only products – but rather those that are specifically touted for therapy.)

There are very few apps that have actual evidence (research supporting the apps effectiveness) support. Smarty Ears apps has a couple and, I believe, Tactus Therapy Solutions has a few. But for those others (again mine included) who do not have actual research supporting their use – do we have the moral and ethical responsibility to show the consumer the theory or research on which the app is based? As an app author and consultant, I believe we do. Yes, apps are merely tools – but for those that are designed to be used during speech-language therapy, I believe we have both the moral and ethical responsibility to share what research theory they are based upon.

But…Where is the responsibility of the consumer? Shouldn’t the consumers demand to have that information available? Or, perhaps even more, is it the responsibility of the consumer to evaluate for research theory behind a product and the creator/seller has no responsibility? See my conundrum?

Recently, this discussion came up on Facebook…and the difficulty was that there was a seller (I have NO idea who) claiming that a product was Evidence Based. I think, perhaps, part of it is the confusion between Evidence Based – Research Based – and Practice Based (but that’s another discussion)…The product had no evidence supporting it’s use – so the claim was false. I believe it was removed…but there are other products that claim they are evidence or research based. Some, thankfully, provide the citations for said claim – which is AWESOME… others don’t.

The discussion on Facebook had a couple of interesting responses…they include:

“I personally select TPT materials to freshen up delivery of EBP. It’s my responsibility to select relevant materials from the wonderful selections.”


“Ultimately, if you buy a resource from a large company or an individual seller, it is up to each therapist to make sure he/she is providing evidence based therapy. I cannot stress this enough with the day and age of social media and everyone claiming something. This is why we have masters degrees and we need to get good at reading research. Ultimately I am responsible for what goes on in my therapy room and need to make sure it is effective.”

So, my question to you is…where does the responsibility lie? Is it the sole responsibility of the consumer? Is it the sole responsibility of the creator/seller? Should we, as consumer, strongly encourage App Authors, App Developers, TPT Sellers to ensure their products are grounded in research and to CITE that research? What about people who create CEUs? Do they have a responsibility to ensure EBP or is that up to the consumer as well?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…please, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

Until then…Adventure on!



2 thoughts on “Morals, Ethics, and Responsibilities

  1. I thought a bit on this, and think that power and influence are important factors to consider. Of course every SLP is responsible for what goes on in his/her therapy room. And every App creator, product developer, CEU creator, etc. etc. is responsible for what they put out, too. But, I actually think the latter are MORE responsible and should be held to a higher standard, simply because they are in a position of power and thus have the ability to influence thousands upon thousands of clients’ lives. Anyone who creates a business (e.g. Super Duper, TpT sellers, App sellers, Continuing Ed course creators), or creates a following (e.g. bloggers; heavy users of social media), or is in a position of power simply because of their employment situation (e.g. Professors, Lead SLPs) is in a position of power.

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