Natural Environment Language Assessment and Intervention with Severely Impaired Preschoolers

James W. Halle, Cathy L. Alpert, Stephen R. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature on language assessment and intervention with severely handicapped populations has emphasized the acquisition of skills while neglecting the role of the environment. Recent recognition of generalization problems has forced language researchers and practitioners to reexamine the role of the environment in language remediation. The present paper represents a more balanced approach to assessment and intervention that surveys both the learner’s skills and the context in which the skills are displayed. The essence of this approach is that the natural environment is adopted as the setting for assessment and training. This paper will first provide a rationale for the importance of assessing and intervening directly in the natural environment. Three prerequisites for language will be identified, and means for assessing each will be discussed. Procedures for restructuring or rearranging the natural environment to occasion and support language use are surveyed. In the final section of the paper, three natural environment language training procedures are described in terms of application, empirical support, and objectives. Throughout the paper the assessment and intervention procedures are discussed in terms of their implications for and applications with severely impaired preschoolers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-56
Number of pages21
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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