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“The Importance of Natural Environment Teaching in Applied Behavior Analysis”

Natural Environment Teaching

“Enhancing Generalization and Individualized Instruction
for Individuals with Autism”

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a widely recognized and evidence-based approach to treating individuals with autism and other developmental disorders. An important strategy in ABA is natural environment teaching (NET). NET involves teaching new skills and behaviors in a real-life simulated environment. This approach allows individuals to learn new skills in a more natural way so that skills can more easily translate to real-life situations.

Why is Natural Environment Teaching important in ABA?  

ABA typically focuses on teaching new skills and behaviors in a therapeutic setting. Individuals with autism often have trouble imagining real life scenarios when learning new skills. For example, they might have trouble learning to look both ways before crossing a street without being on an actual street. NET addresses this issue by teaching new skills and behaviors in the environments where they will be used most. This allows individuals to learn skills in a more meaningful and relevant way and increases the chances that they will use skills consistently and correctly in real-life situations. 

What are the benefits? 

  • NET allows individuals to apply skills across different environments and situations. By learning in a natural environment, individuals are more likely to encounter a wide variety of circumstances. These circumstances can help prepare them and provide the adaptability needed for success in the real world. 
  • NET also allows for more individualized instruction. Individuals with autism and developmental disorders are all unique, so they have unique needs and abilities. NET allows therapists to tailor instruction to the individual’s specific needs, interests, and abilities. For example, if individuals with autism are interested in playing sports, the therapist can use that interest to teach new skills and behaviors in a natural setting, such as at a local park or community sports league. 
  • Additionally, NET allows individuals to be active participants in their own learning process. By teaching skills in a natural setting, it promotes active engagement and helps the individual feel more invested in the process. This ultimately leads to greater motivation, greater understanding, and more meaningful changes in behavior. 

Natural Environment Teaching At The Oxford Center 

The Oxford Center offers The Village of TOC, the only facility of its kind in the US. This is the best location in the country for natural environment teaching. The Village features indoor sidewalks, streetlights, crosswalks, grass, park benches, and roads. Twelve fully functioning retail stores, including a dentist office, hair salon, coffee shop, grocery store, and more, surround our park setting.  

Our features at The Village of TOC allow individuals to learn in a safe and controlled natural environment. Our ABA program uses NET to teach real-life skills while in a simulated real-life environment. We reward with play to improve social skills all while working to ensure goals. In our park setting, children are able to ride bikes and scooters around the indoor roads to boost engagement. To learn more about the ABA services program offered at The Oxford Center, visit us here


In conclusion, natural environment teaching is an essential component of ABA because it allows individuals with autism and other developmental disorders to learn new skills and behaviors in a natural and functional way. By teaching new skills in natural environments, individuals are more likely to retain these skills and apply them in real-life scenarios. This approach proves to be more effective and efficient than traditional, structured teaching methods. The Village of TOC is the best location in the country for NET, offering an unparalleled learning experience for your child.  

Contact our team at The Oxford Center today to discuss the learning possibilities available through our ABA and NET programs. Call us at 248-486-3636 to schedule a no-fee discovery session.