Milieu communication training (MCT) is an evidence based intervention that has been effective with disorders related to developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders and late- talkers.
Milieu training methods takes advantage of a child’s interests within their current environment to build communication skills. A speech pathologist arranges an environment with, or brings into an environment. Communication temptations. These temptations are preferred toys or routines that attract the child’s attention thus setting the stage for interaction and reinforcement. The therapist can then provide prompts to expand on the initiation or strengthen the connection between meaning and expression through repetition.
The therapist responds by using one or more specific techniques including:
- Modelling: demonstrating the desired behavior so that the individual can imitate by saying “snack”.
- Manding: asking questions or providing verbal instructions to encourage the individual to provide the desired response eg: by saying what do you want?”
- Time delay: waiting for a short period of time in order to prompt the desired response. Eg: waiting ten seconds for the individual to say “snack”.
These are several variations of milieu teaching such as paralinguistic milieu teaching (where the focus is on teaching pre- verbal skills to very young children) and enhanced milieu teaching (where the focus is an responding to and interacting with the child)