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The purpose of this study is to know whether or not the Discrete Trials Training, one of the main strategies under the Applied Behavior Analysis of Lovaas, is an effective and applicable strategy for special children students especially those who are severely mentally handicapped. Knowing whether or not this strategy is effective for special children, this could be considered as the immediate instruction that will be used by teachers for special children who are mentally handicapped.
This study will look into whether there would be progress on the development of a mentally handicapped child when applying the Discrete Trials Training; if results will show that there are improvements on the performance of the student, then this study could be considered as a reference to support the strategy’s effectiveness. Information in this literature review was gathered through the accessibility of various online resources.
The online libraries for different researches such as Questia and ERIC libraries were used as search engines to provide various abstracts and overviews of researches about discrete trial training. This literature review also made use of online libraries that specifically contain researches in line with special education. These online sources are Research Autism, Holding Thresholds, Down Syndrome Online, Central Valley Autism Project and Comprehensive information on Autism, Autism Spectrum, and Consulting Services.
Different researches that are found to be helpful for this literature review were accessed through these websites. Aside from online research libraries, there are also information used in these literature reviews that were accessed through the website of a university, the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The main motive in conducting such a review is to prove whether the discrete trial training strategy of teaching is an effective way for special children particularly those who have difficulty in generalization of ideas and concepts. Historical Overview
It has always been a challenge for special education teachers or instructors to develop new and innovative ways to help special children learn considering their mental capabilities. Special children are called special because they have special and different needs. The demand of educators of special children to posses the most effective strategy in promoting development in the mental thinking of a child is the primary reason why this literature review is done. At this point, there are many strategies that have been discovered by different people, but the question remains: Which one would be the most effective strategy to use?
One of the many strategies that could be used in special education classes is Discrete Training Trials which is the main strategy of the Applied Behavior Analysis approach created by Lovaas (“Discrete trial training,” 2010). If a number of researches have already been done to prove that this strategy would be most effective for the mental development of a special child then more and more schools could adopt this strategy into their own so that the development of a special child can be assured. Relevant Theoretical Literature
Since there are a number of strategies that have been developed, the search for the best and most effective strategy to implement inside the classroom is what this review is all about. The strategies that have been formulated have their basis on different learning theories. The Discrete Trial Training strategy is one of the many Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approaches. In one literature review, the different behavioral approaches were examined to have their basis on the behavioral theory of Skinner (Benedict, 2007).
Considering the behavioral theory of Skinner, Lovaas developed the Discrete Trial Training as a strategy that upholds the view of behaviorists that learning could be acquired through the use of positive and negative reinforcement (Benedict, 2007). This literature reviewed that the learning theory basis of the Discrete Trial Training under the Applied Behavior Analysis is grounded on the behaviorist learning principle which make use of imitation and reinforcement.
This literature also reviewed that the children with special needs who experienced such mode of learning had noticeable development (Benedict, 2007). Applied Behavior Analysis in one study is mentioned to be the study of behavior and the manipulation to achieve a desired behavior and reduce and eventually remove an undesired behavior (Choutka et al. , 2004). With the Discrete Trial Training as one of its subsets, this particular strategy is said to monitor skill acquisition by undergoing a one-on-one instruction (Choutka et al. , 2004).
The study also talked about how this particular strategy lacks research to support the reliability and effectiveness of such strategy. Relevant Research There has been an occurring question as to whether which strategy to implement is most effective for special children. In one study of the proponent of the discrete trial training strategy, Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas conducted behavior modification treatments for children with autism and after post treatment, results showed progress in the children’s comprehension and mental development were undoubtedly apparent (Lovaas, 1987).
Results also manifested that this type of procedure could be used for other disorders that children may have, one of which could be schizophrenia (Lovaas, 1987). It is also found in one literature that studied the effectiveness of the discrete trial training for the treatment of children with autism. It is said in this study that the discrete trial training method could be used to advance children’s skills and at the same time manage their corresponding negative behavior (Smith, 2001).
This research gathered all the necessary information regarding the basic steps of the discrete trial training, the time frame that each child must undergo the said strategy and what other strategies that could be combined with the use of the discrete trial training to further strengthen the development of the child (Smith, 2001). It is also discussed in this study that to effectively implement the discrete trial training strategy inside the classroom, teachers should undergo intensive and specialized training (Smith, 2001).
Results showed that though the discrete trial training is a necessary strategy to help children with autism in their mental development, this strategy alone would not be sufficient (Smith, 2001). Though this may be the result of such studies, the researcher believed that there should be more studies and evaluation of the said strategy to further enhance and improve this particular strategy. This study of Smith showed the demand for a thorough evaluation and study of the effectiveness of the discrete trial training as a strategy in the mental development of a child.
Another study examined and reviewed other studies, researches on the effectiveness of the discrete trial training as one of the treatment programs for the development of children with autism. This study reviewed how the applied behavior analysis method, most specifically the discrete trial training, is used to treat children with autism (Tews, 2007). After reviewing various studies and results, the review concluded that the method under the applied behavior analysis which is the discrete trial training is one possible strategy to help children with autism (Tews, 2007).
Another study discussed the use of the discrete trial training to activate the spontaneity of special children’s response (Feeley and Jones, 2008). The study discussed how the discrete trial training provides much possibility to teach children in such a short span of time by using reinforcements to strengthen positive responses (Feeley and Jones, 2008). Results showed that the effectiveness of a strategy should not solely rely on which skill to attend to, rather consider which skill a child must acquire immediately (Feeley and Jones, 2008). Implications for Practice
These researches showed that there is a need to continuously study and evaluate strategies and programs that would be implemented inside the special education classrooms. The researches showed inconsistent results, which give it more reason to further give emphasis on the study whether the discrete trial training is indeed an effective strategy to improve the mental development of a special child. Though there have been numerous studies and researches about the effectiveness of such strategy, these studies also pose questions that seem to be unanswered until now.
This only implies that though this strategy has already been implemented to other special education classrooms, the inconsistency of the results should be considered as a sign that this strategy is not applicable for every child. Implications for Inquiry Though there are a number of studies about the effectiveness of the discrete trial training strategy to improve the mental development of a child with special needs, there is a noticeable inconsistency with the results of these studies conducted.
This means that there is still a great deal of further research to be done and consistent results should be seen to prove that discrete trial training is indeed an effective strategy to use for the mental development of a special child. Summary The studies that are cited in this review of literature examined whether the discrete trial training is an effective strategy to use for the mental development of a child with special needs. In this study, there will also be adaptations as to how this strategy is implemented to special children in other researches.
There will be interventions using the discrete trial training for the development of special children. Before and after the discrete trial training is implemented, the performances of each child will be compared and the result of this comparison will serve as the findings and conclusion of this study. This study would most likely be the same as that of previous studies as regards to the effectiveness of the discrete trial training; however most of these studies require further studies as well.
References Benedict, C. S. (2007) ‘Communication intervention for children with autism: a literature review’, Retrieved from http://www. uwstout. edu/static/lib/thesis/2007/2007benedictc. pdf Choutka, C. , Doloughty, P. T. and Zirkel, P. A. (2004) ‘The “discrete trials” of applied behavior analysis for children with autism: outcome-related factors in the case law’. Questia, 38. Retrieved from http://www. questia. com/googleScholar. qst;jsessionid=MDDf7QMp2FwKnvN1r83h HlgdnDzL36BblJL6C3hLKd1TLTLcFgs! 1115883797! 2083947951? docId=5006551916 Discrete Trial Training (2010, May 20).
Retrieved from http://www. researchautism. net/interventionitem. ikmlprint&ra=92&infolevel=4 Feeley, K. and Jones, E. (2008) Teaching Spontaneous Responses to a Young Child with Down Syndrome, 12. Retrieved from http://www. downsyndrome. org/case- studies/2007/case-studies-2007. pdf Lovaas, O. I. (1987) Behavioral Treatment and Normal Educational and Intellectual Functioning in Young Autistic Children, 55 (1), pp. 3-9. Retrieved from http://www. cvapinc. org/files/1987_Lovaas_Study. pdf Smith, T. (2001) ‘Discrete trial training in the treatment of autism’, Retrieved from http://petemolino. com/uploads/Smith_-_DTT_in_Tx_of_Autism. pdf
Tews, L. (2007) ‘Early intervention for children with autism: methodologies critique’. Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Retrieved from http://www. eric. ed. gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini. jsp _nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ812650&ERICExtSearch_Searc Type_0=no&accno=EJ812650 Tews, L. (2007) ‘Research: early intervention for children with autism: methodologies critique’. Healing Thresholds, 35 (1), Retrieved from http://autism. healingthresholds. com/research/early-intervention-children-autism methodologies-critique