Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention

Photo by Sam Poullain on Unsplash

By Sophia D’Agostino, Melanie Pellecchia, Elizabeth Horton, Emma Sipila-Thomas, Ana Dueñas, Amy Matthews, & Meghan Kane

The Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI) SIG is proud to share its first annual report. The NDBI SIG was founded in May 2020 by Sophia D’Agostino (president), Melanie Pellecchia (member-at-large), Elizabeth Horton (secretary-treasurer), Emma Sipila-Thomas (student member/secretary-treasurer), Ana Dueñas (member-at-large), Amy Matthews (member-at-large), and Meghan Kane (member-at-large). The NDBI SIG aims to bring together professionals who have an interest in understanding and advancing the dissemination and implementation of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions for individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders. The NDBI SIG has three primary purposes: (1) Advance the understanding of NDBI among behavior analysts; (2) disseminate the latest research and practice related to NDBI in the treatment of individuals with autism; and (3) provide a forum for behavior analysts interested in NDBI to network and collaborate.

NDBIs are empirically validated interventions implemented in natural settings using components from developmental and behavioral science. A recent meta-analysis recognized NDBI as a promising intervention approach for children with autism (Sandbank et al., 2020). Common examples of NDBI approaches include incidental teaching, pivotal response treatment, Early Start Denver Model, enhanced milieu training, and many more. In order to bring parsimony to the field, Schreibman et al. (2015) proposed the common use of the term NDBI to refer to interventions that combine ABA with developmental science. The core elements of NDBIs as identified by Frost et al. (2020) include (1) face-to-face on the child’s level, (2) follow child’s lead, (3) use positive affect and animation, (4) model appropriate language (5) respond to communicative attempts, (6) use communicative temptations, (7) provide frequent direct teaching episodes, and (8) provide quality direct teaching episodes. Please see our website for a list of recent NDBI publications and other resources including videos and books to learn more about NDBI.

During the past year, we have created a website (, listserv (, twitter account (@ndbigroup), and facebook group ( designed to grow interest in NDBI and share links to relevant resources. We held our first business meeting where we welcomed new members and identified shared values and goals for the NDBI SIG. Plans for the upcoming year include (1) increase membership and (2) enhance our website and increase social media and listserv activity in order to regularly disseminate information to members.

To become a SIG member or if you are interested in learning more about NDBI, please visit our website ( or contact us at Membership is currently free, and we welcome anyone to join. We hope to engage more practitioners in discussions around NDBI and provide resources to increase knowledge and use of NDBI!

About Author