Labels for ABA

There are many different names and labels associated with behavioural techniques. Some of these are listed below.

Direct Instruction

Direct Instruction is an explicit and intensive teaching methodology. It emphasises the use of carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments. Modelling and guided practice are important features of Direct Instruction.

Direct Instruction


Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) is one of many behavioural teaching strategies. It is a method for individualising and simplifying instruction in which skills are typically taught in small, structured steps. In DTT, the teacher provides a brief, distinctive instruction or question and waits for a child to respond. If required, a prompt is provided. The teacher then waits approximately 3 seconds for a reply. If the child responds correctly praise or some other form of reinforcement is provided. If the child does not respond or responds incorrectly, the antecedent is represented and a correct response is prompted. This is followed by an Intertrial Interval which signals the the end of one opportunity for reinforcement and the begining of a new opportunity.

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)


Incidental Teaching

Incidental Teaching is a naturalistic teaching strategy that involves seeding the environment with preferred items and activities. The teacher then waits for the learner to indicate the item they desire via approach, reach or vocalisation.  The teacher then requests some form of elaboration on the original request. If the child provides the elaboration, access to the desired item is provided.

Incidental Teaching


Milieu Teaching

Milieu Teaching involves using a variety of naturalistic teaching procedures  within the context of everyday activities such as shopping trips or play activities. Often parents, siblings or peers are trained to act as instructors to help the learner achieve their goals.

Milieu Teaching


Natural Environment Teaching (NET)

Natural Environment Teaching is a naturalistic teaching procedure that emphasies verbal behaviour. A potential weakness of some naturalistic approaches is that they often focus on requests and unfortunately some children have difficulties generalising across verbal operants. For example, a child may reliably request chocolate, but when presented with a picture of chocolate, they may not be able to label it correctly.

Natural Environment Teaching (NET)


Natural Language Paradigm

Natural Language Paradigm  (NLP) is a naturalistic behavioural teaching strategy that emphaises motivation. Some of the tactics used to improve motivation include:

  • Allowing the learner to chose the item to be used during the teaching session
  • Using  natural reinforcers that are relevant to task
  • Interspersing requests and demands that a child can carry out with relative ease
  • Reinforcing all attempts to communicate
  • Teaching turn taking

Natural Language Paradigm


Picture Exchange Communications (PECS)

PECS is a communicating system for individuals with communication difficulties. It utilises the principles of ABA to help teach learners how to use pictures and symbols to communicate functionally.

Picture Exchange Communications (PECS)


Pivotal Response Training

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a naturalistic behavioural teaching strategy that incorporates all of the features of Natural Language Paradigm teaching, but in addition also targets pivotal skills. In short, PRT focuses on what we teach as much as how we teach.  Pivotal Skills are those skills that when mastered allow the learner to access new levels of freedom, choice and reinforcement.  For example, PRT places particular emphasis on self initiation and self management.  When a child self initiates and queries people in the environment for information, they create new opportunities for learning and developing relationships. When a child can self manage, they learn vital everyday skills that help to increase their independence.

Pivotal Response Training


Precision Teaching (PT)

Precision teaching emphasises teaching correct responding at an appropriately high rate.  Learners are taught to perform the skills they learn fluently and educational decisions are based on frequency data displayed on standard celeration charts.

Precision Teaching (PT)