Milieu Teaching and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Aims and Claims


The aim of milieu teaching is to increase and improve a range of communication skills. For example according to Goldstein (2002),  

  • “a variety of communicative functions are being taught to children with autism using milieu teaching procedures: preverbal communication (eye  contact,  joint  attention, and  motor  imitation); spontaneous productions of  'I like/love you', descriptions  of  drawings  and  car  play; social amenities such as ‘please, thank you, excuse me, you’re welcome, hello'; positive  interactions  with  peers; answers to ‘Where  is  ___?’ questions; phoneme [unit of sound] production; and simply increased talking.”


There have been various claims made for milieu teaching used with young children on the autism spectrum including improved communication.  For example

  • Hancock and Kaiser (2002) reported that “all children showed positive increases for specific target language use at the end of 24 intervention sessions, and these results were maintained through the 6-month follow-up observations.”
  • Kaiser et al (2000) reported “Most children’s complexity and diversity of productive language increased.”
  • Mancil et al (2009) reported “Results indicate that aberrant behavior decreased concurrent with an increase in total percentage of communication responses (PCR). The children maintained communication and low rates of aberrant behavior, and generalized their communication from the home to the classroom.“
  • Olive et al. (2007) reported that children learned to request items during play. 
19 Dec 2017
Last Review
01 Jan 2017
Next Review
01 Jan 2020