The module is designed to support clinical educators in bringing ethical discussions into case-based presentations with students in healthcare and rehabilitation professional training. The module contains the following sections:
Introduction to Ethical Reasoning (Intro): a general introduction to ways of thinking about ethical issues in the care of children with developmental disabilities and their families. It includes a definition of ethics, a discussion of basic ethical principles, rubrics to use in evaluating ethical discourse, and additional resources for further study.
Newborn Intensive Care Unit Case (NICU): This case presents the dilemmas facing parents and providers in the care of very fragile newborns. Both the clinical and ethical issues are presented. Parents’ responses to their experience with these dilemmas will be presented, as well information on clinical procedures and collaborations in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Transition to Kindergarten Case (Ktg.): This case is based on a five year old boy with severe autism whose family and school is faced with deciding how to provide services for him now that he needs to transition from preschool to kindergarten. Ethical issues around the various treatment approaches available for severe developmental disabilities, as well as case material on his educational needs will be presented.
Transition to Young Adulthood (YA): This case discusses the issues that face families of those with disabilities when students transition from school to the community setting.
Ashley X Case (Ashley X): This case regarding parents’ decision about their “pillow angel,” a child with profound disabilities, and raises many questions about the ethics of treatment and the conflicting interests and rights of those involved in these most difficulty decisions.
Resources: This section will lead you to additional readings and resources to consider in deepening students’ thinking about the many ethical issues involved in working with disabilities. We also provide the thinking of some “moral mentors” who talk about their own struggles and resolutions with ethical dilemmas they encountered in their practice. Additional resources to support teaching in this area are provided in the “For Instructors” section.