The Early Start Denver Model

The Early Start Denver Model is a play-based behavioural therapy.

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) targets a wide range of developmental skills for children under the age of five with, or suspected to have, autism.

Through fun, naturalistic interactions with parents, caregivers, and therapists—and using behavioural principles—the ESDM aims to accelerate child learning and skill development.

Learning through the everyday

Learning is embedded into naturally occurring daily routines, allowing parents and caregivers to take what they learn in therapy into everyday situations.

We use play to help children learn key developmental skills—for example, using songs to increase social connection and communication.

Relationship building

We focus on child-led interactions and following a child’s motivation to engage socially—encouraging them to play with a partner, to learn skills such as communication, relationship building, imitation, and imaginary play.

An extremely promising intervention

Used in over 35 countries, research has shown the ESDM to be an extremely promising intervention. It can be delivered in different ways—such as one-on-one sessions between a child therapist, or coaching parents to use the ESDM with their child outside of the clinic.