The Early Start Denver Model
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a data-based, social-developmental model of intervention designed specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 12-60 months of age. This intervention method targets specific domains that are affected by ASD including social-emotional, cognitive, motor, language and play development.
The Early Start Denver Model incorporates the knowledge of how a typical child develops and aims to aid in a similar course of development for young children with ASD. The Early Start Denver Model also individualizes each child’s curriculum by integrating behavioral, relationship-based and developmental methodologies into effective teaching practices.
A recent study conducted by Geraldine Dawson PhD et al. found that children who received ESDM showed significant improvements in IQ, adaptive behavior, and autism symptoms over those who received community-intervention.
We Can Help With
- Curriculum development
- Assessment and treatment planning
- Teaching procedures
- Data collection
- Delivery setting
- Coordinating an interdisciplinary treatment team
The Early Start Denver Model uses a generalist model – one treatment plan that covers goals from all disciplines. The strategies from the ESDM focus on the affective and relationship-based aspects of the therapist’s work. Teaching is embedded inside play activities, and occurs at a very high rate.
How We Help
- Regulate arousal and attention states for optimal performance
- Structure allows for turn-taking and social interaction
- Appropriate language is used to match the developmental level of the child
- Adults respond sensitively and responsively to child communicative cues
- Learning occurs through multiple communicative opportunities
- High-interest activities are extended as needed to increase engagement and motivation
- Transitions are effectively managed through routines
- Example: shifting child’s interest by closing down one activity and opening another
Recent research on the ESDM includes: Reducing Maladaptive Behaviors (research article).