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The Art of Naturalistic Teaching | Trumpet Behavioral Health

The Art of Naturalistic Teaching


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Trumpet explains naturalistic teaching under the ABA umbrella

At Trumpet Behavioral Health, we believe that teaching kids with autism should extend to the natural environment. By utilizing naturalistic teaching, we can focus on teaching during naturally occurring activities and events.

Also referred to as Naturalistic Developmental Behavior Interventions (NDBIs), this family-friendly form of ABA teaching has been found to be highly motivating to children and readily accessible to parents. Naturalistic teaching sits upon a strong research base, and is increasingly being utilized in homes, centers and schools around the country.

Naturalistic teaching follows the ABA model

All NDBIs operate under the three-part contingency of ABA treatment, which is antecedent-response-consequence. This means that the loop between a behavioral precursor and its result is observed. Naturalistic teaching also models ABA treatment in the following ways.

What does naturalistic teaching look like?

In this form of ABA therapy, the child initiates the teaching episodes. Their therapist, teacher or parent can then insert the NDBI into the situation.

For example, perhaps a child is playing with Legos, a favorite toy. If a teaching goal is to help the child name and identify colors, the adult might introduce the idea to build Lego towers according to color. This creates opportunities for naturally occurring descriptive language, balanced social interaction and a reduced dependence upon prompts.

The benefits of naturalistic teaching during ABA therapy

Naturalistic teaching embraces a developmental systems approach, meaning the acquisition of a new skill in one domain (color identification while sorting) can be applied in other domains (using the name of a color as a description for a desired object). This makes instructional time especially valuable and helps the child become more independent.

The use of NDBIs has been found to be positively and naturally reinforcing to children. Parents can enjoy practicing naturalistic teaching with their child, as its tenets are best offered in a setting that feels comfortable and fun. An ABA specialist at Trumpet can help moms and dads learn how to introduce naturalistic teaching into their homes.

Contact us at Trumpet to learn more about the science of naturalistic teaching.

Written by Joshua Sleeper, MBA, BCBA

Joshua Sleeper, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trumpet Behavioral Health, started in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) over 20 years ago. In college, he began working as a part-time therapist for a school district in California. There, he...

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