Discrete Trial Training and Autism Ranking: Limited positive evidence

Current Research

We have identified more than 50 scientific studies of discrete trial training used as a stand-alone technique for people on the autism spectrum published in peer-reviewed journals. These studies do not include occasions when discrete trial training is used within other, larger programmes such as within early intensive behavioural interventions.

These studies included more than 350 individuals on the autism spectrum aged from 2 years old to adult.

  • The majority of studies (for example, Devlin and Harber, 2004; Elliott, Hall, Soper, 1991; Grindle and Remington, 2002; Jones, Carr, Feeley. 2006; Jones Feeley, Takacs, 2007; Miranda-Linné and Melin, 1992; Newman et al. 2002; Sigafoos and Saggers, 1995; Sigafoos et al, 2006; Taubman et al, 2001) reported one or more positive benefits from discrete trial training.
  • Some studies (for example Holding et al,  2011; Koegel et al, 1992; Koegel et al, 1998;  Schreibman, Kaneko, Koegel, 1991; Schreibman  et al., 2009; and Sigafoos et al, 2006) reported limited or mixed results, in some cases suggesting that other interventions such as incidental teaching or pivotal response training provided more benefits than discrete trial training.
  • One study (Sigafoos et al, 2006) reported that DTT led to increased self injury in the single participant.
31 Oct 2017
Last Review
30 Mar 2016
Next Review
01 Mar 2019