One of the most notable challenges faced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the ability to generalize skills across different environments and contexts. As dedicated ABA consultants, we understand the immense value of harnessing the power of natural environments as a key component of our comprehensive strategies for children with autism. Natural Environment Training (NET) is an essential aspect of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy that focuses on teaching skills in the settings where they naturally occur, such as at home, school, or in the community. Through NET, we can facilitate skill generalization, promote engagement, and help children integrate meaningful experiences into their daily lives.

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of Natural Environment Training and its significance in ABA therapy for children with autism. We will explore the benefits of incorporating NET into therapy programs and discuss practical strategies for implementing this approach successfully. By understanding the critical role of NET in ABA therapy, we can work together to provide children with autism the tools they need to thrive across multiple environments, foster skill development, and experience meaningful engagement with the world around them.

Join us on this informative journey as we uncover the potential of Natural Environment Training in helping children with autism navigate the world with confidence, skill, and purpose.

Understanding Natural Environment Training (NET)

Natural Environment Training (NET) is an instructional approach within ABA therapy that incorporates learning opportunities into the everyday settings and situations a child with autism typically encounters. Unlike more structured teaching methods like Discrete Trial Training (DTT), NET focuses on teaching skills in context, allowing children to practice them in real-world environments. This approach can lead to more seamless skill generalization and increased relevance of learned skills in the child’s daily life.

Key Principles of NET

Several key principles guide the implementation of NET within ABA therapy. These principles contribute to the effectiveness of NET in promoting skill development and generalization for children with autism:

  1. Capitalize on the child’s interests: Use preferred activities, objects, or topics as the basis for engaging instructional opportunities. This can increase motivation, boost attention, and foster greater skill acquisition.
  2. Teach in the natural context: Present learning opportunities in settings where the skills would naturally occur, such as teaching snack preparation in the kitchen or social greetings at the front door.
  3. Utilize natural reinforcers: Reinforce skill development with rewards that are directly related to the target behavior, such as earning a turn on a favorite toy after sharing it with a peer.
  4. Focus on functional skills: Prioritize the teaching of skills that have practical applications in the child’s daily life and contribute to an increased sense of autonomy and competence.

Strategies for Implementing NET in ABA Therapy

Effective implementation of NET in ABA therapy requires adherence to certain strategies that ensure the best possible outcomes for children with autism:

  1. Plan ahead: Identify target skills and select appropriate natural environments for teaching these skills in advance, ensuring a smooth transition between structured sessions and NET opportunities.
  2. Be flexible: Adapt teaching methods and objectives in response to dynamic situations or unanticipated events, maximizing learning opportunities as they arise.
  3. Involve natural support: Work alongside parents, caregivers, and peers to reinforce and support skill development in various environments and contexts.
  4. Continuously assess progress: Monitor the child’s performance and adapt the teaching plan accordingly, targeting new skills or solidifying existing ones as needed.

Benefits of NET in ABA Therapy for Children with Autism

Integrating Natural Environment Training into ABA therapy offers numerous benefits to children with autism:

  1. Generalization of skills: NET supports the transfer of learned skills to multiple environments, allowing children to apply their abilities across various settings and situations.
  2. Increased motivation: By capitalizing on the child’s interests and preferences, NET fosters higher motivation and engagement in learning, resulting in greater skill acquisition and retention.
  3. Enhanced independence: Teaching functional skills within real-world contexts empowers children with autism to become more self-reliant and able to navigate daily life with increased confidence.
  4. Better socialization: Practicing social skills within natural environments offers opportunities for authentic social interactions and relationship-building with peers and caregivers.


Natural Environment Training represents a powerful component of ABA therapy for children with autism, focused on enabling skill generalization, boosting motivation, and fostering engagement across various real-world settings. By effectively implementing NET, we can help children with autism develop the functional skills and autonomy necessary to thrive in their daily lives.

At Strive ABA Consultants, our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to providing comprehensive, evidence-based treatment strategies for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you are interested in the potential benefits of Natural Environment Training as part of your child’s ABA therapy, we invite you to reach out to us and explore how we can support you on this empowering journey.