What is Incidental Teaching?

Incidental teaching involves creating an environment in which students’ interests are easily fostered andIncidental Teaching Room nurtured, and one in which students can be most successfully motivated. This process maximizes learning opportunities through typical activities.

Here are some steps most commonly used in incidental teaching:

  • An instructor will arrange the learning environment so that necessary materials are within the student’s sight, but not within his reach, thus impacting his motivation to seek out those materials.
  • An instructor waits for the student to initiate engagement.
  • An instructor prompts the student to respond if needed.
  • An instructor allows access to an item/activity contingent on a correct response from the student.
  • The instructor fades out the prompting process over a period of time and subsequent trials.

Here is an example of incidental teaching:

An instructor places a train set on top of a cabinet. When the child points or walks towards the cabinet, the instructor prompts the student to say “train.” Once the student says “train,” he gets access to the train set.

Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

In every ABA program at North Shore Pediatric Therapy, incidental teaching is used to take advantage of naturally occurring activities in order to teach different skills–such as expressive and receptive language–and promote generalization of those skills. Data on either prompted or independent responses will be collected during each session and recorded in order to keep track of the student’s progress.

Client Reviews (2)

My son has been receiving ABA at NSPT4Kids for a year and a half. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, caring, and understanding. They have been great working with our insurance company. My son has completely opened up. He now seeks his older sister to play – something he never did for the first four and a half years of his life. He looks at me when he talks to me. We have conversations. It is amazing. I never would have thought ABA could do this. I am so thankful for NSPT4Kids!


Our son has been in the ABA program at North Shore for almost two years now. The gains his therapists have made with him have been without a shadow of a doubt wonderful and remarkable. Everything they do in session, we always reinforce at home to help him continue his gains. The ABA therapists are always quick to update the kids individual program to continue to challenge the kids, even if they are having a rough time that session. We are grateful of what North Shore has done for our son both past, present and moving into the future. As we get ready to send our son into Kindergarten, the North Shore ABA team gets a lot of credit helping to make this milestone happen for him. I highly recommend North Shore for all of their services.

Tom J