Monday, January 6, 2014

Say What Now? Discrete Trial Instruction

Ever notice how bogged down with technological terms the field of education can be? I have (just about every day). Check out my FAQ here for some clarification of terminology. To help wade through these terms, Adventures with ABA in AS is excited to announce the Say What Now series. The Say What Now series will be posts explaining some of the reality behind the words... or... at least my educated interpretation!

If you're new to the world of ABA-based special education programming, DTI, or Discrete Trial Instruction, may seem a little overwhelming. DTI is an evidence-based practice rooted in years of peer-reviewed research. What does that mean? Well, it means research repeatedly indicates it is a method effective for teaching skills. Specifically, DTI is known for its work with individuals with ASD. Before I get too deep into an often-debated subject, I'll steer, instead, toward a few facts followed by my my strict opinion on the use of DTI.

So, in the above examples, assume
A = "What is your name?"
B = "Touch your [body part]."

One of the unfailing reasons why great special education programs use DTI is that they know it provides increased opportunities for responding which often leads to an increase in learning.

We use DTI nearly everyday with all of our learners. I've used it in my regular education placements. I've used it with my nieces, with my puppy, and, yes, with my boyfriend. A common misconception holds that DTI must be this formal, out-of-context, almost scripted dialogue between an instructor and a learner. It can be, but it should be much more than that.

In fact, my favorite way to run DTI programming with my kiddos is by using randomly distributed trials, AKA trial interspersal. This formatting most closely mimics real-world situations because it is less predictable. It keeps my students on their toes and prevents a great deal of scrolling (i.e. When I say "Touch..." you immediately start to touch your eyes, nose, head, and mouth before allowing me to finish my instruction) through responses.

Of course, DTI is only one of the many evidence-based practices we use on a daily basis.

If you're new here, be sure to check out some of my most popular posts:
4 DIY Fine Motor Tasks
Token Board Starter Pack (Includes 4 Boards, Tokens, and Reinforcer Cards)
It Has to Be Said: (6 Tips and Tricks for Easy) Data Collection
More DIY Fine Motor Tasks: Concept Circles

So, what do you think? Should I make a p

Happy Teaching!
Kortnie C.