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Early Start Denver Model for Children with Autism

Early intervention is key for children who are diagnosed or at risk for autism

It is not uncommon today to know someone who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or to hear about it in the news and social media. The prevalence of autism has increased significantly over the last decade. Currently it is estimated that 1 in 68 children have autism, a dramatic increase over the past decade where the prevalence of autism was 1 in 150 in 2006. With the increase in the diagnosis of autism, the demand for intervention and services has become an issue in the province of Ontario. Accessing these services has become increasingly difficult for many families—Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) waitlists are over a year long and waitlists for Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) can be up to four and a half years long (for eligible children).

Many parents are left with no choice but to have their child wait at least a year, and sometimes up to five years for intervention. These long service waitlists put parents in a difficult situation leaving them to ask: What do I do now that my child is waiting for intervention?

Early Intervention for Autism is Crucial

Parents inherently understand that early intervention is crucial for their child’s growth and development. Many take the initiative to find the right treatment and services for their child; however, navigating the system and accessing resources can be a daunting task for any parent of child with ASD. There are many intervention approaches out there – some claiming to recover children, and many have little research and evidence to prove its effectiveness. Given that early intervention is key, it is imperative that parents select interventions that are effective, well researched and evidence-based.

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is the only evidence-based and well researched comprehensive developmental behavioural intervention for children and toddlers aged 12 – 48 months who are at risk or have a diagnosis of autism. The ESDM integrates a developmental model that is relationship focused, and the well validated treatment approaches of ABA, such as Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT).

Why Choose the Early Start Denver Model for Your Child

The ESDM is a comprehensive therapy that:

  • Is carried out by an interdisciplinary team
  • Focuses on building positive affect and bringing out child’s motivation and interests
  • Emphasizes important areas for learning and socialization such as joint attention and social reciprocity
  • Involves parents heavily in the intervention process
  • Utilizes a curriculum with naturalistic ABA teaching approaches (PRT)
  • Intervention is sequenced across typical developmental milestones
  • Emphasizes the rigor of ABA through careful evaluation and monitoring of progress using data collection procedures

For more information on ESDM therapy please contact our Care Coordinator for a free consultation with our Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Ling Ly Tan or Speech and Language Pathologist, Alison Turner.

More information on the research behind ESDM can be found here.

About the author
Ling Ly Tan is a board certified behaviour analyst (BCBA) supervising the behavioural intervention practice at 1to1 Therapy Services. Ling is heading up the new Early Start Denver Model program. Contact 1to1 for a free consultation if you are interested in services for your child.

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