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Home » Pro » Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis » More Ideas of Skills to Teach in the Natural Environment (At the Grocery Store & On a Sidewalk)


with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

More Ideas of Skills to Teach in the Natural Environment (At the Grocery Store & On a Sidewalk)

Teaching skills in the natural environment is a great way to help children of all abilities learn and develop. In ABA services, whether in direct one-on-one services or in ABA parent training, you can use natural environment training to help children learn new skills and improve behaviors.

The natural environment is the setting in which a person encounters in everyday life. The natural environment includes general locations like the home and the community or a school setting. It also includes more specific contexts like a classroom, a grocery store, a table during mealtime, a gas station, a play area, the family’s yard, a sidewalk, and much more. The natural environment contrasts with teaching in a contrived, structured environment which is typical of teaching in discrete trial training.

Ten skills that can be taught in the natural environment of a grocery store include:

  1. Selecting items within a budget
  2. Using a grocery list
  3. Paying for items with cash
  4. Speaking to the cashier
  5. Asking for assistance to find an item
  6. Displaying appropriate behavior
  7. Having a conversation with individuals who also attend the trip to the store
  8. Identifying healthy foods
  9. Selecting proper clothing
  10. Accepting “no” when they are told they can’t have something

Ten skills that can be taught in the natural environment of a public sidewalk include:

  1. Tacting (labeling) types of vehicles that are in the environment
  2. Safety skills of staying on the sidewalk
  3. Crossing the street safely
  4. Staying within close proximity to an adult
  5. Having a conversation
  6. Making choices (such as which way to turn)
  7. Learning directions (such as how to get from home to a nearby library)
  8. Learning about north, south, east, and west
  9. Identifying public signs and symbols (such as road signs, etc.)
  10. Following instructions

To learn more about developing ABA parent training lessons, click here.

More Ideas of Skills to Teach in the Natural Environment (At the Grocery Store & On a Sidewalk)


APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). More Ideas of Skills to Teach in the Natural Environment (At the Grocery Store & On a Sidewalk). Psych Central. Retrieved on June 27, 2019, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/child-therapist/2019/06/more-ideas-of-skills-to-teach-in-the-natural-environment-at-the-grocery-store-on-a-sidewalk/