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Evidence-based behavioural services:
a behavioural assessment
evidence-based behavioural services
a consultation with primary caregivers 

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), Comprehensive Intervention Program (CIP)

What types of ABA are used for an individual assessment?

  • Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is recommended for children under five. It includes an intensive, individualized curriculum - communication, social interaction, and functional and adaptive skills.

  • Discrete trial training focuses on structured task completion and rewards.

  • Pivotal response training allows a child to take the lead in a learning activity, while a therapist offers a few choices based on specific skills.

  • Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) aims to provide play-based activities that incorporate several goals at once.

  • Verbal behavior intervention provides children to become more verbal or improve their communication skills.

Can Behavioral therapy for children with autism impact brain function?
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging for before-and-after analysis, a team of researchers discovered positive changes in brain activity in children with autism who received a particular type of behavioral therapy.

Can Early intervention cost effective through school years?
The Early Start Denver Model, a comprehensive behavioral early intervention program that is appropriate for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as young as 12 months, has been found to reduce the need for ASD therapies and special education services through the school years following their early intervention compared to early intervention services typically available in the community.

High quality early intervention for children with autism quickly results in costs savings
The costs associated with the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), one evidence-based treatment for young children with autism, were fully offset after only two years following intervention due to reductions in children's use of other services, new research shows.

Cognitive behavior therapy could be key for children with autism getting enough sleep

Experts believe that a family-based cognitive behavioral therapy may be the key for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have problems sleeping.

Intervention in 6-month-olds with autism eliminates symptoms, developmental delay

Treatment at the earliest age when autism spectrum disorder is detectable -- in infants as young as 6 months old -- significantly reduces symptoms so that by age 3 most who received the therapy had neither autism nor delay, a research study has found.

Autism: Transforming behavioral therapy with technology

Using computer vision, signal processing and privacy protection, a doctoral student, along with electrical and computer engineering professors, have developed "MEBook," a combination of a social narrative and gaming system that psychologists and parents can use as behavioral therapies for autistic children.

Can unusual eating behaviors be a new diagnostic indicator for autism?
Atypical eating behaviors may be a sign a child should be screened for autism, according to researchers who found that atypical eating behaviors were present in 70 percent of children with autism, which is 15 times more common than in neurotypical children.


The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a comprehensive behavioral early intervention approach for children with autism, ages 12 to 48 months. The program encompasses a developmental curriculum that defines the skills to be taught at any given time and a set of teaching procedures used to deliver this content. It is not tied to a specific delivery setting, but can be delivered by therapy teams and/or parents in group programs or individual therapy sessions in either a clinic setting or the child’s home.

Psychologists Sally Rogers, Ph.D., and Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., developed the Early Start Denver Model as an early-age extension of the Denver Model, which Rogers and colleagues developed and refined. This early intervention program integrates a relationship-focused developmental model with the well-validated teaching practices of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Its core features include the following:

  • Naturalistic applied behavioral analytic strategies

  • Sensitive to normal developmental sequence

  • Deep parental involvement

  • Focus on interpersonal exchange and positive affect

  • Shared engagement with joint activities

  • Language and communication taught inside a positive, affect-based relationship

Mother and Baby on Floor
AUTISM / ABA / ESDM: Online Support

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For more information on the Early Start Denver Model:

Dawson, G., Jones, E. J., Merkle, K., Venema, K., Lowy, R., Faja, S., . . . Webb, S. J. (2012). Early Behavioral Intervention Is Associated With Normalized Brain Activity in Young Children With Autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(11), 1150-1159. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2012.08.018

Rogers SJ and Dawson G. (2009) Play and Engagement in Early Autism:  The Early Start Denver Model. Volume I: The Treatment. New York:  Guilford Press. Also available in Japanese, Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Arabic.

Rogers SJ and Dawson G. (2009) Play and Engagement in Early Autism:  The Early Start Denver Model. Volume II: The Curriculum. New York:  Guilford Press. Translated into Japanese, Italian, Dutch, French, Arabic, and Spanish.

Rogers SJ, Dawson G, and Vismara L. (2012). An Early Start for your Child with Autism. New York:  Guilford Press.

For information on professional training in the ESDM, see Early Start Denver Model Courses – UC Davis Extension and Steps to ESDM Certification

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