Intensive ESDM

By June 2, 2022 May 30th, 2024 ESDM
Group of children doing intensive group social skills in Early Start Denver Model ESDM intervention for young children with autism in Sydney.

When children are diagnosed with autism, the first thing parents want to know is how to help their child. They want to know what therapy to do and how many hours. This is such a complex questions so let’s dive into it! Let’s look at how to get intensive Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) at a cost that is manageable and time efficient.

There is no doubt that the evidence shows that higher levels of early intervention lead to better outcomes for children with autism. We also know that early identification and early diagnosis play a key role in outcome. So, the clear message here is that children should be identified and diagnosed as early as possible, then appropriate intervention should start as soon as possible.

What intervention should parents choose?

This is a very individual question. We know that early intensive behavioural intervention has the most evidence to show that it is effective. We also know that naturalistic interventions lead to better generalisation of skills, and children respond well to naturalistic interventions. At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we use the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as our intervention for young children with autism. It is an NDBI. This means that it is a naturalistic, developmental, behavioural intervention. If a family rings our clinic to ask what intervention we suggest for their young children, we recommend the ESDM.

How many hours of intervention does my child need?

This is a really tough question. It depends on so many factors:

  • Access to the intervention program that the parents choose for their child
  • The budget the family has and what funding options they can access – and how quickly they can access the funding
  • Time – does the family have time to get the child to the intervention program

If the family can access the program they have chosen, have the budget to fund the intervention, and can get the child to the program, then we recommend 10 hours of face to face intervention. Initially the child starts in 1:1 intervention so that the therapist can establish a solid developmental foundation. After that, we recommend our children enter our group intensive program. During the group intensive program, the child attends the ESDM for 3 hours a day across 3 days. The additional hour to make up the 10 hours of intervention includes 1 hour per week of parent training.

This combination provides the level of intensity that leads to the best improvements for the child. The child receives 9 hours of direct intervention per week. The intensive program is a group model and there is 1 therapist for 2 children. The group model is more cost effective than individual intervention so the child’s intervention funding goes further. The therapist is targets more social skills goals with the other children in the group. The 1 hour of parent training means that the child continues to get intervention at home. Research shows that parents can be trained to fidelity to deliver intervention in their own home while they are doing everyday activities that are part of their normal routine.

How do I access 10 hours of intensive ESDM for my child?

Out intensive ESDM program runs during each of the school terms for a 10 week period at our Bondi Junction and Mascot clinics. If you are interested in the program, please contact our clinic directly or email us here so we can discuss the program with you. We look forward to answering any of your questions.

Where do I learn more about the ESDM?