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How Does Discrete Trial Training Work?

family learning how Discrete Trial Training Works

Many parents and guardians of children or autism may have wondered about discrete trial training (DTT) and its connection to applied behavior analysis (ABA). But how does discrete trial training work?

There tends to be a lot of confusion between the terms DTT and ABA. Sometimes, when people talk about ABA programs for children with autism spectrum disorder, they are actually referring to DTT programs. While DTT programs are based on the principles of ABA, the two terms are not the same. DTT is one of many teaching procedures that fall under the umbrella of ABA.  ABA is generally used to help clients develop positive behaviors and reduce problematic behaviors, in an effort to increase overall independence. DTT is one of the instructional strategies that behavior analysts may use to help support clients while they learn new skills.

What Is Discrete Trial Training for Autism Treatment?

Studies have shown that DTT is particularly effective for teaching children with autism new skills. In DTT, specific skills are broken down into smaller, “discrete” steps, and taught one-by-one through pairing, repetition, and reinforcement.

How Does Discrete Trial Training Work?

DTT starts with choosing a target skill to work on, typically based on the results of a comprehensive assessment during which behavior analysts determine why certain behaviors occur, and identifies an individual’s particular areas of strength, as well as areas where additional support is needed.

In cases where DTT is indicated as a potential instructional strategy, the behavior analyst will determine:

  1. An appropriate instruction to signal an appropriate response.
  2. A prompting strategy to help guide the client.
  3. Reinforcement for responding correctly.
  4. Strategies to help reduce incorrect responding, such as additional prompts
  5. What Else Should Be Included in Autism Treatment?

Can DTT be combined with other strategies?

DTT is only one teaching strategy that can be used to help clients master their goals. DTT is often combined with other interventions to help maximize progress.

If you’re looking for ABA therapy in and around Boston, MA, contact Journey Autism & Behavioral CAre Centers today. Call 844.222.4513 or reach out to our team online.