Early intervention program

For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities

Kids Blocks Spelling Learn Falling Over As Symbol for Study And EducationAt Annie’s Centre, we offer a family centred, multidisciplinary Early Intervention Program based on the most cutting edge and evidence based approaches: the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), and the Hanen Centre programs It Takes Two to Talk®, More Than Words® and TalkAbility®. If needed, we can also guide the implementation of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems, including the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and the iOS based application Proloquo2Go. Our program is suitable for children from 12 months through to 6 years of age (or when a child starts primary school). Many different early intervention programs are available, so why choose ours?

It is evidence based

All of the treatment models used in our Early Intervention Program are supported by a current body of peer-reviewed, published research.

It does not require a special setting

Our program is designed to be used by parents, family members and professionals, in a variety of natural environments, with everyday toys and materials. This ensures that emerging skills and behaviours remain flexible and adaptable, and are not tied to special teaching materials or one particular setting.

It focuses on the quality of relationships

The program we offer emphasises the development of social engagement and communication through the fostering of rewarding relationships between the child and their caregivers. Children with ASD and other developmental disabilities struggle with initiating social exchanges, and this decreases their learning opportunities. Our program begins by building social initiation and interaction through rewarding exchanges with caregivers, thus increasing the number of social learning opportunities the child is experiencing.

It is comprehensive

Our program targets skills across all developmental domains and the teaching curriculum is based on the most current understanding of early childhood development.

It is systematic

The model we use includes a step-by-step process for modifying the intervention if a child is not progressing as expected, and systems to ensure that the program is consistently delivered to a high standard.

It is data based

A detailed curriculum checklist is used to formulate an individualised program of teaching goals for each child. Data is collected in every session to track progress. The checklist is re-administered and new goals are established at 12 week intervals to ensure children are always progressing.

It is fun!

Our approach focuses on maximising child motivation through positive interactions, and this approach means that it is enjoyable and rewarding for children, parents, other family members, and therapists.

Program structure

Parenting Plan Book For Child's Education And UpbringingOur program is made up of four parts:

  1. Parent education

    The active participation of primary caregivers is crucial to the success of any early intervention program. The goal of this component of our program is to equip you with skills that will help you to create more frequent learning opportunities for your child. The strategies that you will learn will enable you to help your child learn and develop by:

    • Paying more attention to other people’s faces, voices, and actions
    • Imitating others (e.g. in songs or games)
    • Sharing emotions, needs, and interests with others
    • Playing with toys in constructive and varied ways
    • Using their voice and body to communicate
    • Reducing behaviours that interfere with learning (e.g. tantrums)
  2. Clinic based therapy

    The Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant co-ordinating your program will conduct weekly therapy sessions with your child at our centre (more than one session per week can be scheduled, but is not required).

    During these sessions, the Senior Therapist will target the learning objectives formulated for your child and assess their progress. These sessions also allow the Senior Therapist to look over notes and data taken by you or the other therapists working with your child, so that feedback can be provided.

  3. Home based therapy

    Junior Behaviour Therapists will conduct therapy sessions with your child at your home. This increases the number of hours of direct therapy your child receives, and ensures that your child is able to use the skills they are learning in different settings and with different people.

    The number of sessions per week will depend on your individual circumstances, but a minimum of two sessions is recommended (i.e., six hours per week minimum).

    You can either access Junior Behaviour Therapists from our centre, or hire them directly. If you choose to hire your own therapists, then please note that there are fees associated with training therapists to our high standards of service delivery. This ensures that they can implement your child’s program effectively.

  4. Case conferences

    These are held every 12 weeks to review your child’s progress, outline goals for therapy, and plan for the next term. They play an important role in ensuring the consistent implementation of your child’s program. The case conferences also provide you with an opportunity to discuss any new behaviours or issues that may have arisen with your program co-ordinator, and to provide valuable feedback on how your child is developing outside of regular therapy sessions.

Program timeline

Our Early Intervention Program is organised around 12 week terms:

  • You can start your program at any time (term dates are not fixed, but if it is more convenient for you, a start date can be scheduled that will allow your Early Intervention Program to approximately parallel the school terms)
  • Before your program starts, your child will be assessed to establish their current skill profile. The results of this assessment will be combined with information you provide on your child’s existing abilities.
  • An individualised curriculum will then be prepared for your child, containing learning objectives covering all domains of child development.
  • These objectives will be taught for 10 weeks during clinic and home based therapy. Your Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant will also guide you on how you can target objectives with your child at home.
  • In the last 2 weeks of the term, a case conference will be held to review your child’s progress. Your child’s skill profile will also be reassessed. We will then combine our assessment with your feedback and formulate the learning objectives for the next term.

Program schedule

We understand that different families have different needs. Our goal is to provide your child with an effective program, while also allowing for some flexibility in how, when, and where it is delivered.

To achieve this, our program schedules are based around core hours. These are the minimum hours that you commit to when you join our Early Intervention Program.

Depending on your circumstances and the needs of your child, you can then add optional hours to increase the intensity of your child’s program. The basic message from research into early intervention is the more hours, the better. A program of 20 hours per week represents a good target to aim for.

The tables below show the breakdown of hours for the core program, and two options for adding more hours to reach a total of 20 hours per week.

Core hours
Term one
Parent education
  • 10 x 1 hour information sessions +
  • 10 x 30 minute live coaching sessions.These are incorporated into your child’s weekly clinic based behaviour therapy sessions (see below), to enable you to receive support and guidance from your Senior Behaviour Therapist while you practice techniques and strategies with your child.
  • 5 hours per week of structured parent/child activities at home. This time includes the daily caregiving activities you do with your child (e.g. bathing, feeding), as well as play. This time provides you with opportunities to practise the skills learned in the information and live coaching sessions.
Clinic based therapy 1 x 90 minute session per week. This is made up of:

  1. 60 mins one-on-one therapy with your child and the Senior Behaviour Therapist coordinating your Early Intervention Program. This is billed at the child-only therapy rate.
  2. Then, another 30 minutes live parent coaching occurs at the end of the child’s sessions. This is billed at the Senior Therapist consultation rate.
Home based therapy 2 x 3 hour sessions per week. These sessions will be conducted at your home by Junior Behaviour Therapists.
Case conference 1 x 2 hour meeting each term. The case conference is attended by your Senior Behaviour Therapist and Junior Behaviour Therapists, with the option of a Speech Pathologist and/or Psychologist also being involved, depending on the needs of your child.

Total: 14 hours per week

Subsequent terms
Parent education
  • 5 x 30 minute live coaching sessions. These are added to your child’s weekly clinic based behaviour therapy sessions (see below), to enable you to receive support and guidance from your Senior Behaviour Therapist while you practice techniques and strategies with your child.
  • 5 hours per week of structured parent/child activities at home. This time includes the daily caregiving activities you do with your child (e.g. bathing, feeding), as well as play. This time provides you with opportunities to practise the skills covered during live coaching sessions.
Clinic based therapy 1 x 90 minute session per week. This is made up of:

  1. 60 mins one-on-one therapy with your child and the Senior Behaviour Therapist coordinating your Early Intervention Program. This is billed at the child-only therapy rate.
  2. Then, another 30 minutes live parent coaching occurs at the end of the child’s sessions. This is billed at the Senior Therapist consultation rate.
Home based therapy 2 x 3 hour sessions per week. These sessions will be conducted at your home by Junior Behaviour Therapists.
Case conference 1 x 2 hour meeting each term. The case conference is attended by your Senior Behaviour Therapist and Junior Behaviour Therapists, with the option of a Speech Pathologist and/or Psychologist also being involved, depending on the needs of your child.

Total: 13 hours per week

To give you an idea of the different ways in which optional hours could be added to your program, here are two example program schedules, both adding up to 20 hours per week of intervention:

Example A:

The family accessing the program in Example A have chosen to commit more time to working on structured activities with their child at home. This enables them to maintain a program of 20 hours per week across the term without adding to their budget for clinic and home based therapy.

Example A
Parent education
  • 5 x 30 minute live coaching sessions. These are added to your child’s weekly clinic based behaviour therapy sessions.
  • 13 hours per week of structured parent/child activities at home.
Clinic based therapy 1 x 90 minute session per week. This is made up of:

  1. 60 mins one-on-one therapy with your child and the Senior Behaviour Therapist coordinating your Early Intervention Program. This is billed at the child-only therapy rate.
  2. Then, another 30 minutes live parent coaching occurs at the end of the child’s sessions. This is billed at the Senior Therapist consultation rate.
Home based therapy (with Junior Therapists) 2 x 3 hour sessions per week with Junior Behaviour Therapists.
Case conference 1 x 2 hour meeting each term, attended by the Senior Behaviour Therapist and Junior Behaviour Therapists, with optional attendance by a Speech Pathologist and/or Psychologist.

Total: 20 hours per week

Example B:

The family accessing the program in Example B have chosen to add more hours of clinic and home based Behaviour Therapy, as well as two Speech Therapy sessions each week. They are still committing to their core hours of structured parent/child activities each week, but are able to budget for more sessions with Speech and Behaviour Therapists to achieve a program of 20 hours per week.

Example B
Parent education
  • 5 x 30 minute live coaching sessions. These are added to your child’s weekly clinic based behaviour therapy sessions.
  • 5 hours per week of structured parent/child activities at home.
Clinic based therapy 1 x 90 minute session per week. This is made up of:

  1. 60 mins one-on-one therapy with your child and the Senior Behaviour Therapist coordinating your Early Intervention Program. This is billed at the child-only therapy rate.
  2. Then, another 30 minutes live parent coaching occurs at the end of the child’s sessions. This is billed at the Senior Therapist consultation rate.
Home based therapy 3 x 3 hour sessions per week with Junior Behaviour Therapists.
Speech therapy 2 x 1 hour sessions per week, conducted at the clinic.
Case conference 1 x 2 hour meeting each term, attended by the Senior Behaviour Therapist and Junior Behaviour Therapists, with optional attendance by a Speech Pathologist and/or Psychologist.

Total: 20 hours per week

Speech Pathology and Psychology/ Clinical Psychology services

In addition to assisting in the formulation of the language and communication objectives in your child’s individualised curriculum, our speech pathologists can provide ongoing therapy as part of your child’s Early Intervention Program.

We also provide a variety of psychological support services, including diagnostic assessments, family counselling, social skills groups, anxiety support and individual therapy.

Bookings, referrals, rebates and benefits

Please contact our Centre for further details about or to register your interest in our Early Intervention services

Referrals are not required to access support for Early Intervenion services. However you may wish to consider whether you are entitled to rebates or benefits from government programs or private health insurers to offset your expenses.