About Developmental Therapy Teaching

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How does DTT instruction change from stage to stage?

Teachers adjust their instructional goals, content, materials, learning environments, and classroom management strategies to students’ stages of development and IEP objectives. They also adjust their own roles as significant adults in the learning process.

For Children in STAGE ONE

Your task: Teach them to respond and trust

Your role: Care and nurture; encourage responses; make good things happen

Learning environment: Consistent routine; luring rather than demanding

Developmentally appropriate materials: Exploratory materials with enticing sound, color, texture

Management strategies: Stimulating materials; structure; routine; comforting feedback; redirection; controlled vocabulary; supportive physical proximity

For Children in STAGE TWO

Your task: Teach them basic skills for success

Your role: Lead them to abundant success

Learning environment: Active exploration

Developmentally appropriate materials: Exploration; imagination; themes of adults caring for children and kindness to others

Management strategies: Abundant encouragement to participate; positive feedback; verbal redirection; reflection of positive words and actions; model desired actions

For Children in STAGE THREE

Your task: Teach them to participate successfully in peer groups

Your role: Be the group leader, benign sheriff, and motivator

Learning environment: Group focus and teamwork

Management strategies: Positive feedback about individual contribution to group; motivate with success-producing lessons; redirect behavior; reflect positive words and actions; connect actions to feelings; positive rules; individual Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI)

For Children in STAGE FOUR

Your task: Teach them to care about being contributing members in groups at school, with peers, and at home

Your role: Group facilitator, advocate, counselor, role model, reflector of reality

Learning environment: Reality-oriented group focus

Management strategies: Positive feedback from peers and adults; help student interpret behavior and feelings; group and individual LSCI

For Teens in STAGE FIVE

Your task: Teach them to use their skills in new situations independently

Your role: Supportive teacher, mentor, counselor, advisor

Learning environment: Natural teen settings for independent use of competencies and selected values

Management strategies: Positive feedback and encouragement preferably from peers; interpretation; LSCI; remind student to consider values and consequences

Q: Who can use DTT?

Special and regular classroom educators
Art and music educators
Social workers
Childcare workers
Parents and foster parents
Other adults guiding children and teens

Q: How can a teacher or parent assess a child’s current stage of development?

The Developmental Teaching Objectives Rating Forms-Revised (DTORF-R) is used for an in-depth assessment of social, emotional, and behavioral development. Baseline results become the foundation for instructional planning.

DTORF-R also provides a functional behavioral assessment and a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) as part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), or Individual Transition Plan (ITP).

DTORF-R assessments can be repeated for each grading period during a school year to track progress.

When selected DTORF-R milestone objectives have been achieved, there is no further need to continue intervention focus on those objectives. Move on to the next objectives in the developmental sequence.

At the end of the year, the number of objectives achieved documents progress made during the year.

Q: What does research say about DTT?

Three separate research studies have documented program effectiveness for the U. S. Department of Education. Click here for a summary.

Q: How can individuals learn to use DTT?

Our extensive self-study resources, workshops, professional development programs, and technical assistance consultation are available for individuals, public and private schools, childcare programs, home school programs, and service agencies.

Q: What skills are gained?

DTT training enables you to: Assess a student’s current social-emotional-behavioral status. Design developmentally appropriate individualized educational programs. Select learning objectives and instructional strategies. Apply DTT in early childhood settings, elementary and high schools, mental health programs, and home environments. Use evidence based, field tested resources. Evaluate students’ progress. Document outcomes. Self-monitor your own skills.

Q: What is the cost for training?

Costs depend upon type and extent of training needs. Costs are negotiated at the time an initial training agreement is made.

Q: What resources are available to learn to use DTT?

A 2007 textbook, Teaching Responsible Behavior, provides a comprehensive guide to DTT. (Available: www.proedinc.com)

An interactive CD, PEGS for Teachers, increases teachers’ skills in using positive behavior management strategies and reduces students’ negative behaviors. (Available Here)

A developmental assessment rating system, DTORF-R, to identify learning objectives and document student progress online, DTT Stages One through Five. (Available: www.dtorf.com)

Developmentally based early childhood lesson plans. (Available Here)

Developmental Art Therapy textbook and art activity lesson plans. (Available Here)

Onsite training.


DTT Leadership certification.

Q: How can I get more information?

Email: dti@developmentaltherapyinstitute.org