The highly successful Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) intervention for children with autism, co-developed by Sally Rogers, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has expanded training to more than 20 countries around the world.
The relationship-based intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is provided by trained therapists and parents during natural play and daily routines involving parents and families. It focuses on using play and positive reciprocal interactions to teach a developmental curriculum designed for each child based on their current abilities and interests. It aims to increase the rates of learning across all areas of child development (social-emotional, cognitive and language) for children with ASD as it simultaneously aims to decrease the symptoms of autism.
“While we never foresaw or imagined the kind of international response that our work has stimulated, it demonstrates that all the efforts for earlier recognition of ASD and earlier treatments that our university and so many others have carried out are having a real effect on children and families globally,” Rogers said. “It motivates us to continue to determine how to make our interventions more effective, easier to use and more economical to deliver.”
The International Training Program in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ITPND) educates health-care professionals from around the world in the treatment and management of individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, fragile X syndrome and related conditions, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Down syndrome and the RASopathies. To learn more, visit the ITPND website.
ESDM trainers have conducted trainings – and continue to train – across the globe in countries including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, France, Germany, Austria, Wales, Italy, Poland, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Japan, China, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Spain, Australia and Portugal. The French newspaper Le Monde recently featured use of ESDM in Geneva, Switzerland.
There are three different ESDM training workshops: Introductory, Advanced and Parent Coaching. The Introductory course is one day, while the Advanced and Parent Coaching workshops are three days. The longer workshops include five trainees, one trainer and one child and parent per class. The ESDM also offers a rigorous training program for anyone who wishes to become a certified ESDM therapist. The certification process typically lasts a year.
Rogers and her team respond to requests from any group that wants to bring ESDM to their country. Before adoption of ESDM as an intervention for young children with ASD it is necessary to have the written materials translated and published into the language of the country where they will be used.