Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence-based approach to early intervention for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It aims to develop a child’s ability to spontaneously approach and interact with others through play-based, relationship- focused activities and routines.
The ESDM offers a child-centred approach to therapy, meaning that the child’s interests and choices are followed, within an individualised curriculum that targets all areas of development: language, play, social interaction, imitation, cognitive and motor skills, self-care, and behaviour.
The ESDM recognises that parents and family members play a key role in providing learning opportunities for a child with ASD, and family involvement is an essential part of an ESDM program. Children with ASD miss out on many opportunities to learn from the people close to them, because the disorder affects their ability to connect with others. By focusing on relationship-building and the use of everyday activities as opportunities to teach new skills, the ESDM aims to minimise this loss.
Whilst the ESDM is most widely known as a treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can also be an effective therapy for behavioural and learning difficulties associated with Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome and other genetic conditions resulting in delayed social development.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
ABA is a set of principles and techniques for teaching skills and modifying behaviour. It involves breaking down a skill into small, teachable steps that can be mastered one at a time.
At its core, it is based on the idea that what happens before and after a given behaviour determines how likely it is that the behaviour will occur again. If a particular behaviour is followed by something positive and rewarding (praise, a treat, the chance to play with a favourite toy), a child is more likely to repeat the behaviour in the future.
On the other hand, if the behaviour is followed by something negative (toys being packed away, nobody paying attention), a child will learn that the behaviour is not a good way of relating to the world around them, and will be less likely to engage in the behaviour again.
Using these principles, key skills (e.g. responding to instructions, making eye contact, dressing) can be promoted, and harmful or maladaptive behaviours (e.g. tantrums, obsessive routines) can be reduced.
ABA is most widely known as a treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, but it is also an effective therapy for behavioural and learning difficulties associated with Fragile X Syndrome and Down Syndrome.
It Takes Two to Talk®, More Than Words® and TalkAbility®
These programs originate from the Hanen Centre in Canada, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping parents take on a primary role in their child´s language development. The programs focus on teaching parents practical strategies for aiding children in the development of language skills during everyday activities.
It Takes Two to Talk® is designed for parents of children 5 years of age and under who have been diagnosed as having a language delay, regardless of their diagnosis. The program is suitable for children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. The program aims to teach parents and caregivers skills to maximise communication opportunities for their child. It focuses on teaching techniques parents can use daily in ‘real life’ situations to help develop the child’s language.
More Than Words® is specifically designed for parents of children 5 years of age and under with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The aim of the program is to equip parents with the skills to develop their child’s social interaction, communication and language skills using “everyday” situations as opportunities for teaching.
TalkAbility® is designed for children 3 years of age and older who are “verbal” but have significant social interaction or social communication difficulties (this can include but is not limited to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Click here for more information on the TalkAbility® program.