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5 Steps of Discrete Trial Training You Should Know

a woman holds the shoulders of her young child while learning more about the steps of discrete trial training

As a parent or caregiver of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you might have encountered the term discrete trial training (DTT) during your research to find the methods to help your child. DTT is a strategy for teaching new skills that is often used in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. It facilitates an individualized approach to teaching skills such as language, communication, self-help, play, and socialization.

At A Gem of Joy, we offer community-based and in-home ABA therapy to help individuals with ASD enhance their independence and reach their full potential. We believe in the importance of parent training and education for our learners’ success. Contact us at 888.501.6641 to learn more about incorporating discrete trial training into your child’s personalized learning plan.

Understanding Discrete Trial Training for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

DTT for learners is a structured teaching methodology focused on developing essential skills in small, manageable increments. This technique, rooted in ABA, is ideal for learners as it considers their unique learning styles and cognitive processing.

DTT is not merely a teaching method but a comprehensive approach that involves the following:

  • Identifying a skill
  • Breaking it into sub-skills
  • Teaching and reinforcing each sub-skill
  • Ensuring that the learned skill can be generalized across different environments

This versatile method can be adapted to develop various skills, such as social, communication, and functional skills, while providing consistency and predictability, which are incredibly beneficial for children with autism.

Discrete Trial Training for Communication Skills

DTT is an evidence-based teaching method focusing on skill acquisition and behavior modification. It is commonly used to teach communication, language, and social skills to individuals with ASD.

Discrete trial training can instruct various language skills, including expressive language, receptive language, and social communication. It is important to note that DTT is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach and should be tailored to the individual needs of each learner.

5 Steps of Discrete Trial Training

The five steps of discrete trial training can provide parents and caregivers with the tools to help their children acquire new skills and reach their full potential. Those five steps of DTT are:

1. Identify the Skill to Teach

The first step of DTT is to identify the skill you want to teach. This could be anything from requesting a desired object to answering comprehension questions. Once the skill has been recognized, it’s essential to break it down into small, manageable steps.

2. Break Down the Skill

The next step is to take the skill you want to teach and break it down into small, discrete steps. For example, if you’re going to teach your child to request a toy, you would break it down into steps like making eye contact, initiating the request, and waiting for a response.

3. Teach Each Step

Once you have broken the skill down into small steps, you will teach each step, beginning with the first step and moving on to the next. You will teach the steps consistently, ensuring that each step is mastered before moving on to the next.

4. Reinforce the Correct Response

When your child exhibits the correct response, you will reinforce it by providing positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise or a small reward. Positive reinforcement is key to motivating your child to learn and helping them to remember the correct response.

5. Generalization and Maintenance

Finally, it’s essential to ensure your child can generalize the skill to other settings and maintain their new skill over time. You will work with your child to practice their new skill across various settings and situations, ensuring they can use it effectively in real-life situations.

Call A Gem of Joy to Learn More About Discrete Trial Training for Your Child

To learn more about the steps of discrete trial training and how DTT can be tailored to suit your child’s unique needs, we invite you to reach out to A Gem of Joy. Our professional and empathetic team specializes in providing individualized ABA therapy, ensuring that every learner has the best opportunity to thrive.

Call us today at 888.501.6641 or send us a message on our contact form to discuss your child’s developmental goals and let us guide you in harnessing the power of DTT to improve their skills and confidence.