The effectiveness of discrete trial training on the level of performance of toothbrushing in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Yvonne Flor B. Biddic | Nicole E. Copsiyan | Keith Jasper G. Flores Monica Beatriz D. Miranda-Yu | Kassandra Khristia A. Salinas School of Dentistry
Dr. Joseph M. Acosta, Adviser


The study was conducted to establish the effectiveness of Discrete Trial Training (DTT) as a method of teaching the proper tooth brushing technique among 10 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In determining the efficacy of Discrete Trial Training as a method of teaching, the two leading independent variables were tested twice, once before the exposure to the intervention and another after exposure to DTT. The parameter that was measured is the participant’s skill in removing debris on teeth and regulated by the presence of plaque on tooth surfaces in the form of plaque scoring. The Simplified Oral Hygiene Index (OHI-S) by Greene and Vermillion (1964) served as a reference for plaque scoring by the researchers. A significant development was evident in the comparison of pre-test and post-test values of oral hygiene indices as well as differences in tooth brushing habits. Pre-test findings depict a mean OHI-S score of 2.57, interpreted as fair while the post-test mean OHI-S score was computed to be 1.67, interpreted as good. The t-test revealed that there is a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores. Findings on qualitative and quantitative data show remarkable improvement in the tooth brushing performance of the children with autism. Clearly, the use of Discrete Trial Training as a method of instruction was effective in children with autism spectrum disorder to improve their oral hygiene performance.

Keywords: Oral Hygiene Performance, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Discrete Trial Training, Toothbrushing, Plaque Score