Natural Environment Training (NET) is a powerful approach in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy that focuses on teaching children with autism essential skills within the context of their everyday lives. By incorporating learning opportunities into natural, real-life settings, NET allows children to acquire, practice, and generalize skills more effectively than traditional, structured sessions alone. 

At Strive ABA Consultants, our team of experienced professionals recognizes the value of NET and its potential to enhance treatment outcomes for children with autism, holistically addressing their needs and goals for optimal growth and development.

In this article, we will delve into the role of Natural Environment Training in ABA therapy for children with autism, exploring the benefits of integrating this approach into one’s therapeutic plan. We will also discuss how our team at Strive ABA Consultants seamlessly blends NET with other evidence-based ABA strategies to create a comprehensive treatment program tailored to each child’s needs and interests.

Understanding Natural Environment Training (NET)

Natural Environment Training (NET) is an approach within Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy that emphasizes teaching and practicing skills in natural, real-life settings. By incorporating learning opportunities into everyday environments, NET enables children with autism to learn and practice skills in contexts that are directly relevant to their lives, promoting real-world generalization and success. In contrast to more structured, ‘tabletop’ teaching methods, NET offers a more flexible, hands-on approach, which can be especially beneficial for children with autism who may struggle to engage in a traditional learning environment.

Benefits of Natural Environment Training in ABA Therapy

Implementing Natural Environment Training in ABA therapy for children with autism offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Enhanced Skill Generalization: By practicing skills in real-life settings, children with autism can more easily understand the relevance and applicability of the skills they acquire. This understanding promotes stronger generalization of skills across different environments and situations.
  2. Increased Motivation and Engagement: NET offers meaningful learning opportunities tailored to each child’s unique interests and preferences. This personalized approach fosters greater motivation and engagement in therapy, ultimately leading to better outcomes.
  3. Improved Social Skills: Since NET involves practicing skills in the natural environment, children with autism have increased opportunities to interact with their peers and develop essential social skills in authentic contexts.
  4. Better Learning Transfer: Learning new skills in natural environments familiar to the child enhances the transfer of these skills to other settings, promoting independence and effective functioning in diverse situations.

Incorporating NET in ABA Therapy at Strive ABA Consultants

Strive ABA Consultants understand the value of incorporating Natural Environment Training into our evidence-based therapy programs. Here are some ways our team integrates NET in ABA therapy for children with autism:

  1. Combining NET and Structured Teaching: Our therapists create individualized treatment plans that blend Natural Environment Training with structured, ‘tabletop’ teaching methods. This balanced approach ensures that each child receives the benefits of both hands-on learning in real-world contexts and structured skill acquisition in more controlled settings.
  2. Utilizing Play-Based Learning: Our therapists incorporate play-based learning opportunities into NET sessions, utilizing toys, games, and other activities that align with the child’s unique interests and preferences. This method promotes increased motivation, engagement, and overall enjoyment of therapy sessions.
  3. Focusing on Communication and Social Skills: To help children with autism build essential communication and social skills, our therapists incorporate opportunities for interaction and practice into NET sessions. This focus on social skills development, coupled with real-life learning experiences, promotes stronger interpersonal connections and fosters lasting growth.
  4. Adapting NET to Each Child’s Needs: At Strive ABA Consultants, we understand that each child with autism is unique, with distinct needs, strengths, and goals. Our therapists tailor NET sessions to accommodate these individual differences, ensuring that therapy activities align with the child’s specific interests and developmental needs.

Promoting Success with Natural Environment Training

With its focus on real-world learning and hands-on skill development, Natural Environment Training plays a vital role in promoting positive outcomes for children with autism participating in ABA therapy. By integrating NET into therapy sessions, children can enjoy meaningful, engaging learning experiences that promote skill generalization, increased motivation, improved social skills, and better overall functioning in various environments.


Natural Environment Training is a powerful and essential component of ABA therapy for children with autism, offering numerous benefits in promoting skill acquisition, generalization, and overall treatment success. By embracing the value of NET and its potential to create impactful, meaningful change, we strive to empower each child on their journey towards growth, independence, and a brighter future. 

At Strive ABA Consultants, our team of dedicated professionals is committed to incorporating this approach into our comprehensive autism treatment programs, helping to create lasting change for children with autism and their families. To learn more about our approach to NET and how we can help your child thrive, contact us and begin paving the way for a more fulfilling life for your loved one!