DTT is one of several types of teaching strategies that fall under the umbrella of ABA. DTT is a structured ABA technique that breaks down skills into small, “discrete” components. Systematically, the ABA trainer teaches these skills one by one. Along the way, trainers might use tangible reinforcements, social praise, or other reinforcements for desired behavior.

For example, an ABA trainer teaching shapes to a child might begin by teaching circle. She would ask the learner to point to circle and then reward the behavior. She would then move on to teaching square by itself, reinforce that skill, and then ask about both shapes. After the child learns all his shapes, the aba trainer might teach the child to say each shape’s name.

Many ABA therapists have found DTT to be particularly effective for teaching new skills to children with autism spectrum disorder. DTT was one of the very first interventions developed for autism and has extensive research supporting it.