Discrete Trial Training

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Discrete Trial Family

How does TeachTown: Basics incorporate DTT?

The program breaks down individual skills into small discrete tasks and guides a student’s learning through prompting and reinforcement. Each trial follows the traditional discrete trial model that has been used in multiple studies (e.g., Lovaas, 1987; Smith, Groen, & Wynn, 2000) where the discriminative stimulus is presented (i.e. the instruction or cue that the child should respond to) by presenting 1 or more images (e.g., a happy, a sad, and an angry face) with a vocal instruction (e.g., “Find the person that is happy”). Next, the child is expected to respond by selecting one of the images (e.g., clicking on the happy face) (the child can also touch the screen on touch screen monitors). If the response is correct, a positive statement is heard (e.g., “You did it!”), there is a brief (3 second) inter-trial interval (i.e. pause between trials) and the next trial is presented. If the response is not correct, the correct answer is shown.

Discrete Trial Training and TeachTown: Basics

Each trial presented in the TeachTown: Basics On Computer Lessons follows the traditional discrete trial model that has been used in multiple studies (e.g., Lovaas, 1987; Smith, Groen, & Wynn, 2000). The discrete trial model can also be easily incorporated into the Off Computer Activities. The instructions provide a simple reference of how to deliver clear instruction.

SD --> R --> SR

  1. The discriminative stimulus (SD) is presented with a vocal instruction.
  2. Next, the student is expected to respond (R) by selecting one of the images.
  3. Last, if the student response is correct, a positive statement is presented (SR). If the student response is not correct, the correct answer is shown.

 

Clinical definition:

Discrete Trial Training is a behavioral treatment intervention using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and derived from the work of Lovaas (1987). Discrete Trial Training takes a large or long term goal and breaks it down into small achievable steps that are presented in the format of a discrete trial. A particular trial may be practiced numerous times until the skill is mastered. There are typically three steps to the typical discrete trial.

  1. The discriminative stimulus (SD) - the instruction or environmental cue of which the teacher expects a student response (e.g., “What color is it?”, “Point to the ball”, or “Do what I am doing!”, etc.)
  2. The Student’s response - the skill or behavior that is targeted. If the student does not respond or responds incorrectly, usually the teacher would then provide a prompt to ensure learning.
  3. The consequence - usually in the form of reinforcement, a reward that is intended to motivate the student to respond in this same way more in the future.

Discrete Trial Training programs often start by training pre-learning skills (sitting, attending, looking at trainer), play skills, social skills, safety and basic pre-academics and concepts. A particular emphasis on communication and imitation may be the initial focus of the curriculum if students are non-verbal or have limited communication skills.