Social skills in the ESDM

By June 1, 2024 June 13th, 2024 ESDM
ESDM, early start denver model, bondi junction, mascot, early intervention

HOW ESDM builds social skills

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is renowned for its effectiveness in developing social skills among young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Social skills are crucial for successful interactions and relationships. The ESDM‘s comprehensive approach capitalises on the critical period of early brain development in toddlers and pre-schoolers. Clearly, this ensures that social skills are nurtured from an early age and become a part of their everyday life.

Key Strategies in the ESDM for Social Skills Development

Naturalistic Teaching Approach:

ESDM integrates social skill development into everyday activities and play. By embedding learning opportunities within natural settings, children are more likely to engage in social interactions spontaneously. This approach contrasts with more structured approaches of traditional ABA. as a result, the ESDM makes social learning more relevant to the child and easier for children to use across a variety of different environments.

Play-Based Interventions:

Play is a fundamental aspect of ESDM. Through guided play, therapists and parents create scenarios where social interactions are motivating and rewarding. For instance, playing turn-taking games or cooperative activities encourages children to practice sharing, waiting, and responding to peers’ actions, which are essential social skills.

Joint Attention:

ESDM places significant emphasis on developing joint attention. Joint attention is the ability for two people to share their attention on the same thing. Joint attention is foundational for social development as it underpins the ability to engage in reciprocal communication. Activities designed to promote joint attention, such as looking at a toy together or following a pointing gesture, help children understand and participate in shared experiences.

Modeling and Imitation:

Imitation is a powerful learning tool in ESDM. Therapists and parents model appropriate social behaviours, which children are encouraged to imitate. This method helps children learn complex social cues and behaviours in a supportive environment. For example, a therapist might model saying “hello” and waving, prompting the child to copy these actions.

Positive Reinforcement:

Reinforcement is used strategically to encourage and reward social interactions. When a child successfully engages in a social behaviour, such as making eye contact or using a greeting, they receive positive reinforcement. The positive reinforcement could be verbal praise, a favourite toy, or another reward that motivates them. This positive reinforcement increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated.

Parent Involvement:

Training parents to implement ESDM techniques ensures that social skill development is consistent and occurs across all parts of the child’s life. Parents learn how to create social opportunities during daily routines. They also learn how to how to respond to their child’s social bids, which reinforces social learning throughout the day.

Outcomes and Benefits

Research indicates that children who participate in ESDM show significant improvements in social skills. These children often show better eye contact and more frequent and appropriate use of gestures. They have an increased ability to initiate and respond to social interactions. Furthermore, the model’s emphasis on parental involvement means that these gains are more likely to be sustained over time. Thi is because social learning is continuously reinforced in the home environment.

By addressing social skills development through a holistic, engaging, and child-centred approach, ESDM provides children with ASD the tools they need to navigate their social world more effectively, laying a foundation for future relationships and social success.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

If you’re concerned about your child’s development or want to learn more about how the ESDM can help your child’s social skills, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help. We have clinics in Bondi Junction and Mascot – in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email. You can book a free 30 minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey