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The Early Start Denver Model

What is the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)?

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence-based intervention specifically developed for very young children with autism. ESDM is a play-based intervention that fuses behavioral and developmental principles into an integrated approach. ESDM can be implemented in different natural settings such as the home or the daycare/preschool by trained therapists as well as parents within play and daily routines. ESDM aims to reduce the symptoms of autism and target all developmental areas.

How to Become Certified in the Early Start Denver Model

Professionals who work regularly with 12-48 month aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and have educational degrees beyond a bachelor’s or the academic equivalent from their country of origin need to follow these steps to become certified in the ESDM:

Step 1: Order the ESDM Manual

Read the training manual entitled, The Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism: Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement. The manual describes a developmental, naturalistic, and relationship-based approach for fostering children’s initiative and engagement and scaffolding their communication and interaction.

Step 2: Attend Workshop

After reading the manual, there are two workshops available for training in the ESDM. The Introductory Workshop addresses the main aspects of the ESDM but is not intended to train professionals to fidelity. The Advanced Workshop includes interactive sessions with children with ASD in order to equip professionals with the information, skills, and resources necessary to correctly implement the ESDM within their organization. Professionals will be required to submit follow-up training materials to demonstrate their continued competency in the ESDM following the Advanced Training Workshop.

ESDM Introductory Training

The ESDM Introductory Training is now online. Click here to enroll in the ESDM Introductory Training.
If you have taken the ESDM Introductory Training in the last three years either face to face or online, you can apply to the Advanced Training.


Advanced Workshop at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

January 30th - February 1st, 2017


Location: Rachel Upjohn Building / 4250 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700
Trainer: Costanza Colombi, PhD
Fee: $ 2000 + post-course supervision
Graduates of the Introductory Workshop will learn how to carry out ongoing therapy using the ESDM. Teams of 3-5 professionals will be grouped together to receive direct practice with children with ASD and supervision with implementing an ESDM intervention program. Coaching and feedback will be provided on how to generate and embed a developmentally appropriate teaching curriculum into naturalistic routines for young children with ASD. For more information, contact Dr. Costanza Colombi.

Step 3: Submit Training Materials for Certification

After participation in the Advanced Workshop, trainees will need to demonstrate fidelity in two separate cases submissions in order to receive an ESDM Therapist Certificate.

Next Course Offering:

ESDM Advanced Training: January 30th - February 1st

For more information about the visit Early Start Denver Model