Delivery of Group-Early Start Denver Model in an Australian early childhood setting

Kristy Capes, Shannon Upson, Carolyne Jones, Cheryl Dissanayake, Giacomo Vivanti


This article provides an overview of the Group-based Early Start Denver Model (G-ESDM), an early intervention approach for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The G-ESDM is based on the delivery of the evidence-supported Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) techniques in group-based settings such as early learning and care settings, with one adult delivering instruction to small groups of three to four children. The program is informed by research documenting the positive impact of early interaction with peers and preschool experiences for social-cognitive development, and is designed to maximize cost-effectiveness by providing evidence-based treatment during daycare hours. Additionally, it capitalizes on the culturally universal tradition of educating young children in group settings, and on the social learning opportunities provided by peers. We review principles, strategies and empirical support for the G-ESDM, as well as challenges and future directions.