A term you might hear in ABA is Natural Environment Teaching or NET. We do this a lot both at our center.
What is NET?
NET is when teaching and learning happen in the natural environment. This kind of teaching is taught in a less structured environment, and the child often initiates the situation. When therapists use NET, they try to teach a student behavior that would occur in their everyday life.
Why is NET important?
NET is a great way to teach a child because you are teaching the child in an environment in which they would naturally use it. NET also helps with generalization, meaning the child can learn a task or behavior in different situations or around other people. Natural Environment Teaching also helps improve a child’s language if this is something they need to work on.
How to use NET
Natural Environment Teaching can be used doing almost any activity. Although this type of teaching is initiated by the child, a therapist or parent should have a plan in place before a session. The learning should also be fun! Here’s an example:
A child likes to throw a ball into a bin. If you are working on having the child ask for the ball, you can wait to give the child the ball or mand for him to ask for it so he can throw the ball into the bin! The most important part is ensuring this activity is fun for the child.
Natural Environment Teaching can be used to teach a variety of different skills such as requesting something, following directions, identifying something, matching, and so much more! Just remember to make it fun!