The Aim of the ESDM Approach

The aim of ESDM is to provide an effective and appropriate intensive intervention for infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Here are a few specifics:

(1) to meet the unique social-emotional needs of infants/toddlers and their families

(2) to focus on the social-communicative symptoms of autism that occur in the first years of life

(3) to use validated, effective teaching practices

(4) to address the developmental needs of infants/toddlers.


The underlying approaches of the ESDM

(1) The Denver Model, a developmentally-based, group preschool program for young children with autism spectrum disorder focused on building close relationships with children as a foundation for social and communication development

(2) Applied behavior analysis

(3) Pivotal Response Training, the naturalistic application of applied behavior analysis to build child motivation


Denver Model teaching practices include:

(1) adults modulate and optimize child affect, arousal, and attentional state

(2) adult use of positive affect

(3) turn taking and dyadic engagement occurs throughout

(4) adults respond sensitively and responsively to child communicative cues

(5) multiple and varied communicative opportunities occur

(6) elaboration of activities

(7) adult language is developmentally and pragmatically appropriate to the child’s verbal and nonverbal communicative intent and capacity

(8) transitions are effectively managed