The ESDM (Early Start Denver Model) belongs to a family of interventions that are – naturalistic (which means that they are implemented in the child’s natural environment), developmental (which means that they emphasize developmental adaptation and connection), and behavioral (which means that they also use the principles of learning). It is a research-based model based at the MIND Institute for Autism Research sitting at UC DAVIS.
In ESDM, learning is in a naturalistic approach. It takes place in the child’s natural environment, and the reinforcements given are natural and related to the child’s will. In this way, the children learn and generalize the learning in a better way. Furthermore, in ESDM, the child leads the interaction, and there is a particular emphasis on reciprocity, diversity, and playfulness of the interaction.
The principles of application of the ESDM, to which it systematically measured, include the following topics: Child attention management, the use of learning principles, proper use of prompting techniques, regulating child’s affect and arousal, the quality of the dyadic engagement, maximizing child’s motivation, using a positive affect, the responsiveness and sensitivity of the adult, diverse learning opportunities, adapting parents’ language to child’s language, establishing joint activities, and proper transitions between activities.