Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism
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By Sally J. Rogers and Geraldine Dawson ©2010. If a well-designed study published in Pediatrics, November 30, 2009, shows that a specific model of parent training and early intervention lead to improvements in IQ of 18 points and to a change of diagnosis from autism to PDD-NOS in 30% of the children, does that grab your attention?
Over the past 40 years, there has been a host of intervention methodologies intended to address autism. Because early intervention in autism is so crucial, the variety of “models” targeting children ages 0-5 are many. In that host of approaches, the Early Start Denver Model is truly rare. The authors have brilliantly blended elements of other models into one succinct approach. We are fortunate that the authors are so adept in extracting and blending the jewels of intervention from other approaches.
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a generalist model based on blending applied behavior analysis techniques with developmental science. This approach combines key elements of Pivotal Response Treatments with targets of joint attention, social imitation, reciprocal play skills and receptive and expressive language in a highly engaging and motivating framework. Within a detailed and rigorous approach to early intervention, the goal is simple: build engaging routines to “kick start” the process of social learning in toddlers with autism. A thorough and detailed curriculum checklist is provided to support targeted interventions across all areas of development.
The authors provide a readable, step by step description of the theoretical base, the interdisciplinary team approach emphasizing parent training, and the development of concrete, measurable objectives Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism Promoting Language, Learning and Engagement . Then, with regard to intervention, they provide guidelines, ideas for programming, examples and rich content on how to build skills with toddlers with autism. The depth and expansiveness of their Curriculum Checklist provides a resource that is precisely tailored to the needs of these children. Dr. Sam Odom of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill states: “It will serve as the standard against which future treatment manuals in the field are judged.” (Softcover; 272 pages)
Whether you are a newcomer to early intervention with autism or a perennial student of quality intervention practices, this book is required reading. With very promising research already attached to this approach, we cannot afford to ignore this important work.
Review courtesy of John B. Thomas, former Consulting Clinical Director of Training at the Autism Society of NC.