Special Needs App of the Day: DTT Shapes

Special Needs App of the Day: DTT Shapes

DTT Shapes is an app developed by Dr. Gary Brown, a licensed psychologist — this app is not a toy or a typical children’s game, but rather it provides therapy based on scientific research. DTT stands for Discrete Trial Training, and it is a primary teaching method used in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This treatment modality is used mostly for children with autism and ADHD, and it is one of the top methods used to teach academic and social skills.

While many similar games use several shapes, DTT Shapes begins with only two – too much stimulation is confusing to a child with autism, so beginning slowly and with easy discriminations between shapes is an ideal starting point.

DTT Shapes allows you to choose from a list of shapes; you select one “correct” shape and one “incorrect” shape. The next screen asks the child to select the “diamond,” or other shape, written in text. The child can pick between the two shapes on the screen. For each answer, a pop-up acknowledges that answer as correct or incorrect.

The shapes in this app include:

  • Circle
  • Diamond
  • Heart
  • Line
  • Rectangle
  • Square
  • Star
  • Triangle
  • Cone
  • Cube
  • Cylinder
  • Octagon
  • Oval
  • Pentagon
  • Pyramid
  • Sphere

You can choose solid shapes or outlined shapes.

Dr. Brown recommends setting a max trial time of 60 seconds and a max interval time of 30 seconds; this timing refers to the time the child has to answer and the amount of time in between each trial screen. Dr. Brown also suggests rewarding your child or client with a tangible reinforcer, such as a piece of cereal or pretzel. Do not add a third shape until all pairs of shapes have been learned.

The app begins with an introduction, which is an important tool for many parents and caregivers. Once you understand how to use the app, it will become that much more of a useful educational tool. Many apps do not provide this background, and it reinforces DTT Shapes as a science-based and proven treatment modality. It can be used by parents and therapists.

While DTT Shapes is not your standard children’s game, do make it fun, and your child will enjoy learning basic shapes.

DTT Shapes is available for iPhone and iPad, and it costs $7.99.

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