Incidental teaching is a form of teaching in which a teacher takes advantage of naturally occurring ‘incidents’ or situations to provide learning opportunities for the student.
Incidental teaching is based on the idea that students, including children with autism, are more willing to learn if the teaching is based around their own interests and preferences.
In incidental teaching the teacher organises the learning environment around a set of preplanned learning objectives but taking into account the student’s individual preferences. When the student demonstrates an interest in an item or activity, the teacher encourages that interest by questioning or prompting the student. For example, the teacher may place something that the student wants just out of reach, so that the student has to communicate with the teacher in order to get it.
Incidental teaching has been used to teach a wide range of skills including speech, imitation, social awareness etc.
Incidental teaching is a key element in many multi-component programmes – including Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention – UCLA YAP model and LEAP.
There is some research evidence to suggest that incidental teaching can increase communication abilities, including both spoken and sign language, in some people with autism.
In particular, request and object naming/labelling has been shown to increase following this behavioural communication intervention.
Please see the Advanced version of this page for more information about this intervention, including relevant research studies and details of how we ranked them.
Please read our Disclaimer about this intervention.
Last Updated : 15/04/2013 Back to Top