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Naturalistic intervention

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What is it?

Naturalistic interventions involve creating teaching opportunities for learning during naturally occurring situations. Naturalistic interventions tend to be child directed, based on learner's interests and focus on naturally reinforcing activities and skills. Techniques include environmental arrangement and interaction techniques.

How do I use it?

Planning
  1. Identify what skill you want to teach e.g. turn taking.
  2. Look at the daily, weekly plan and identify what situations/activities would provide the opportunity for naturalistic interventions e.g. free time in class, moving from the classroom to a specialist class. You may also need to plan 'naturally' occurring opportunities e.g. plan a group activity where the student will need to take turns sharing resources with his/her peers.
  3. Communicate the naturalistic intervention with other staff. Break times provide opportunities for naturally occurring learning opportunities. It is important staff are aware of what you are doing and what you would like them to do.
Implementation
  1. Engaging the student. This involves following the student's lead e.g. if the student moves to the reading corner then the teacher would follow the student.
  2. Create the learning context e.g. let's take turns reading this book, take turns turning the pages.
  3. Teach the skill. This will involve selecting a teaching strategy.  For example:
    • modelling – give the student the book when it is their turn
    • prompting – 'your turn, now it's …..'
  4. Reinforce behaviour e.g. "You are doing great turn taking". See the Behaviour specific praise factsheet.
  5. Evaluate student's progress.

Age group

This is appropriate for the following age groups:

PreschoolYes
P-2Yes
3-6Yes
High schoolYes

Where can I learn more?

Autism Internet Modules provide a way of learning online. The modules are free. You do need to set up an account to access the modules. Peer mediated intervention is one of the intervention strategies available as a module.

Related factsheets

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Last updated 24 September 2020