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Discrete Trial Training

Discrete trial training (DTT) is a highly-structured training technique that involves a trainer instructing an individual with autism using a series of learning opportunities or 'trials'. Each 'trial' has a definite beginning and end, which is why the technique is described as 'discrete'.

The trainer begins each trial with a short, clear instruction or a question. The trainer may also prompt the learner, showing him how to respond correctly to the instruction or question.

If the learner does what the trainer wants, she will immediately reward him. For example, she may praise him or allow him to have something he wants. If the learner does not do what the trainer wants, she will repeat the instruction or try a slightly different approach.

DTT is the main (but not the only strategy) used to teach children with autism in early intensive behavioural interventions, such as the UCLA Young Autism Project Model.

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This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.