What makes ESDM so good ?


On October 23, 2021

Why is ESDM so good ?  

Children with developmental delay have difficulty learning how to communicate and develop relationships. This article explains ESDM and how it works.

Why ESDM  

ESDM aims to help children learn these fundamental developmental skills by: 

  • focusing on the communication and relationship skills children already have
  • using playand social reinforcement to gradually build on these skills in an enjoyable way. 

ESDM therapy is based on having (or developing) strong, positive relationships between children and their carers and therpaists. ESDM encourages these relationships by focusing on activities children enjoy and using these activities as the basis for teaching. 

Who is the Early Start Denver Model designed for?  

ESDM is designed for children diagnosed with speech delay, developmental delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder between the ages of 12 months to 48 months and above. To get positive results, this behavioral therapy is recommended to commence at an early age to develop the necessary skills associated with a child’s development.   

How does ESDM work 

This therapy involves working with an Early Start Denver Model team. This team is usually made up of lead therapists, early intervention therapists, parents and allied health practitioners.  

The team works together to develop the child’s tailored program, which includes goals with objectives and activities targeting skill development. The parent coach leads parents and other carers on to implement the ESDM outside of the centre.  

The program is used in different settings – one-to-one intensive teaching or therapy sessions in clinic or home, group sessions, mainstream child care settings and preschool settings. 

Does ESDM Work  

ESDM is evidence based and scientifically proven to help children with delays. There are numerous peer reviewed studies that parents can access to understand the right intervention for your child. Please see a further link from raising children’s network for further information.  https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/therapies-guide/early-start-denver-model 

Since the inception of the program, research has been conducted to reveal the effectiveness of the program. Once research study revealed by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics shows how 48 children (aged 18-30 months) were categorized into two groups. While a group received the ESDM treatment, the other received something entirely different from the therapy. At the end of the research, it was observed that the group who received the therapy had an increase in IQ by 17.6 points and also showed a growth rate in their social and practical skills.   

Other studies reveal that children who received ESDM at a young age had major progress with their language and social skills. In addition, this lead to increased brain function resulting in highly levels of their communication. These trials reveal that ESDM makes a positive impact on children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.  

Who Practices ESDM Therapy 

The Early Start Denver Model is usually delivered by a team made up of parents, early intervention service staff and a therapist. Team members need to have a background in a health-related field including, early childhood educators, behaviour analysts, registered behaviour technicians, psychologistsspeech pathologists and occupational therapists. 

At Amazing Kids our team of therapists are all from Speech therapy, Psychology and education backgrounds. They are then required to complete the intensive ESDM programs that are provided by the UC Davis Mind Institute in California, USA. The program has been promoted and researched  further in group ESDM is group settings in conjunction with Latrobe University in Melbourne. Each Practice that provides ESDM Therapy must have a certified Therapist that has to undergo rigorous supervision and training in order to deliver a program for your child. 

Cost Considerations   

Every session your child has with a therapist is One to One for three hours at a time. It is intensive in nature and is recommended in a clinical environment upon commencement of the first year of intervention. Early intensive Behavioral intervention programs are recommended for two years to ensure generalisation of skills into mainstream environments such as kidnergartens and early learning centres (ELC).  

The cost will depend on how many hours your child is accessing a week. Evidence based intervention recommends between 15-20 hours of 1:1 per week ( 3 hour sessions once or twice a day).  

The National Disability Scheme (NDIS) will generally cover the cost of ESDM therapy if you are eligiable. Please find further information here on eligibility requirements. Amazing kids is able to assist with accessing NDIS and help with the reporting and information you will need for NDIS.  

Parent Involvement 

If your child is using the Early Start Denver Model, you’ll work with early intervention staff and a therapist to develop your child’s program. We highly recommend enrolling in the parent training program. This together with the intensive therapy will provide you with the tools to continue what has been learnt with the therapist, so it can be followed through at home, kindergarten etc 

Where can I get an ESDM Specialist?   

You can talk to our ESDM specialists at our clinic in Hawthorn. We offer various programs that assist your child with highly-trained professionals that help your child develop vital skills through different developmental approaches and techniques.   

Book an appointment for a free 60 minute discussion with us by emailing info@amazingkids.com.au or register on our website here.




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