The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

Weill Cornell Medicine ESDM intervention training is provided through three-day workshops that include hands-on practice with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Trainees must complete participation in an introductory workshop before participating in an advanced workshop (past or concurrent enrollment). Participants work in small groups to gain experience delivering the ESDM curriculum checklist with an ASD child, writing objectives, creating a data system and then delivering intervention to the child. Following an ESDM workshop, trainees receive feedback regarding their fidelity and data and undergo a certification process. Advanced trainees are required to submit follow-up materials including video examples of intervention and their written intervention programs.

The ESDM is a model of intervention developed by Drs. Sally Rogers and Geraldine Dawson for young toddlers and preschoolers with ASDs. Their comprehensive approach combines applied behavior analysis teaching principles with a relationship-based approach. In this way, ESDM combines the science of learning with developmentally appropriate ways of interacting with very young children. Shared enjoyment and smiles are a large part of the model.

The ESDM can be used in almost any environment, including home- or clinic-based settings, and may be delivered by parents or interventionists including special educators, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists or behavioral analysts. As an integral part of their child's program from the start, parental priorities and values are at the core of each child's intervention program.

ESDM skills are taught in developmental sequence. The curriculum is comprehensive and covers all areas of development, including communication, social skills, play, fine and gross motor skills and personal independence. Learning opportunities are embedded within naturally occurring activities. Teaching happens inside play-based activities, using toys and activities including puzzles and songs, and also takes place during natural routines including snack time and caregiving.

For information about upcoming ESDM trainings, contact us: autismtraining@nyp.org.

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