The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a comprehensive behavior early intervention approach used at Chicago ABA Therapy for children with autism and related disorders, ages 12 to 48 months. According to the Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism, an individual may transition out of an ESDM intervention for multiple reasons, such as, gaining all that you can from current intervention, a child approaching kindergarten age, or a child who is not progressing and thus not benefiting from the intervention. Discussions about program transitions signal the last phase of the ESDM transition. The decision for a transition is made by the child’s team which also includes the parents. Transitions can be intimidating, overwhelming, and bittersweet. However, allowing sufficient time will assist with a smoother transition of information and next chapter in the child’s life. Preparation for transition includes programmatic preparation, involving IEP meetings, transition plans, transition activities, and interface with the new staff members. As an ESDM provider, we help the parents with the transition since we emphasize partnership, collaboration, and shared responsibility with parents. As a family experiences receiving therapeutic services and wanting the best possible for their child, it may cause a multitude of emotions on a daily basis. It is important to reach out for support from current providers, community providers, family support or advocacy groups.
The ESDM integrates interdisciplinary expertise into the intervention model because of the multiple domains that are affected in autism and related disorders. Some areas that your child can make improvement in include: verbal/nonverbal communication development, motor functioning, sensory functioning, imitation, and play. ESDM treatment is often the first intervention that families experience, and it has a responsibility to prepare families well for a lifetime of advocacy for their child. As time goes on, parents become more involved in their child’s treatment program and become more knowledgeable about ways to implement the therapeutic intervention. The ESDM model encourages strong parental involvement and allows the parents to learn how to be an advocate for their child in current and future settings. The end of ESDM direct services should be a recognition of all that has been accomplished by staff, parents and child, with optimism joined with careful planning for the next stage in the child’s development.
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