ESDM session – what does it look like?

By April 20, 2016 May 14th, 2023 ESDM
Young girl in an Early Start Denver Model ESDm early intervention session with a Certified ESDM Therapist in Bondi Junction and Mascot in Sydney

What does an ESDM session look like?

ESDM sessions are play based. All activities occur around play and all reinforcers are natural, play based reinforcers. We know children learn best in play. A child with autism has the right to learn through play doing activities they enjoy. Let’s learn more about an ESDM sesion.

An Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) session always starts with a greeting.  The ‘hello song’ allows the ESDM therapist to:

  • get the child’s attention
  • regulate the child’s arousal levels (attention levels)
  • establishes the joint attention

The certified ESDM therapist and the child may continue to do floor based activities at this stage. The child may choose to take a toy to the tabletop instead.

Does the child get any choice in the activity?

The ESDM therapist chooses all the toys before the session begins. The child chooses when they do an activity and what activity they want to do! The toys and activities need to be motivating for the child. When the child is motivated and engaged with a toy or an activity, we can successfully teach. The ESDM therapist will target 5-6 goals in every activity. Teaching can happen at a table top activity or during a floor based activity.

Are all the activities done seated at a table?

The sessions moves between the floor and the table. This is a critical part of Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). The ESDM therapists works throughout the session to ensure that:

  • they have the child’s attention
  • the child’s arousal levels are appropriate
  • the child is learning.

Our goal is to bring the child into the social loop very 10-20 seconds. The ESDM therapists codes the child’s performance roughly every 15 minutes, so that at the end of the session it is very easy to see how the child has progressed.

If it is play based, are you actually teaching?

The ESDM may be play based but teaching is a critical part of the program. The Certified ESDM Therapist uses behavioural principles to sensitively and responsively teach every 10-20 seconds. There is a high rate of teaching. Out therapists craft this high level of teaching while still keep the child engaged in an activity that motivates them.

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) sessions are also a lot of fun for the children!

Hoe can I enrol my child for the ESDM?

The Early Start Denver Model is a best practice intervention for young children with autism. Over 30 years of research has gone in to this ground breaking intervention program. In our Bondi Junction clinic we constantly strive to deliver the Early Start Denver Model at a high level of fidelity. We were one of the first small private intervention clinics in New South Wales to offer this evidence based practice.

If you are interested in learning more about how the Early Start Denver Model can support your child’s learning and development, please call us on (02) 80657837 or email us. OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is located in Bondi Junction in Sydney. Our team of therapists is trained at the highest levels of fidelity so we can improve children’s lives.