Our Services

What is the Early Start Denver Model?

The Early Start Denver Model is a comprehensive behavioural early intervention approach for young children with autism. This program combines its relationship-focused developmental model with the well-validated teaching practices of ABA. The ESDM has been validated in a randomized clinical trial for use with children with autism as young as 18 months of age. Research shows improvements in communication, social, play and cognitive outcomes in young children.

Press play to see what Early Start Denver Model therapy sessions can look like!

Why choose Early Start Autism Therapy as your service provider for your child with autism? What makes us different?

Our Values
  • At Early Start we are united by a set of shared core values that guide how we interact with families and how we teach and support young children with ASD. Our team's shared values include: Growth, Purpose, Relationship, Support, Integrity, and Having Fun!
  • We offer a unique blend of multiple therapy approaches to create an adaptable therapy model that can be effective for reducing autism severity and increasing skills in many young children
  • Early Start Autism Therapy uses ABA methods, the ESDM curriculum and components of the Reference and Regulate © model and individualizes a program specifically for your child. Our staff are trained on all of these as is required for each child they work with.
  • Our company’s mission statement includes creating a company environment in which we can recruit, hire and retain the most qualified BI staff - this translates into better quality intervention programs for your child and better outcomes. If staff are constantly changing and leaving and having to be trained, the children’s progress will be affected.
  • We strive to recruit and maintain a high quality team of behaviour intervention staff. As of 2020 we have approximately 12 BI's in two regions, each overseen by a Regional Manager or Junior Consultant. The majority of our staff members have 1 year or greater experience with us. Half of our staff have 2 years or more of experience in our company. Our retention rate for the last two years has been greater than 80% which is very high for the autism field.
  • ESAT covers all costs for hiring, training and supervising new staff while your child is in our program at no additional charge.
  • All our staff are given access to the Registered Behaviour Technician Training Program through ReThink Behavioral Health Services and wage incentives for completing this program. The RBT training is the new Gold Standard in the United States for front line Behaviour Intervention staff but is not yet required in Canada. We are working to stay ahead of the requirements and ensure our staff have the training that will make them the best possible BI's.
  • We also provide regular training in house and funds to our staff members to do additional professional development yearly

The main principles of our program are:

  • use of naturalistic, applied behaviour analytic strategies
  • teaching of language and communication inside a positive, affect-based relationship
  • maintaining a strong focus on child choice and shared engagement with a wide variety of joint activities (activities that the two partners construct together)
  • use of the typical developmental sequence across domains as the basis for goal selection
  • an initial prioritization of skills in the key areas of expressive and receptive language, play, social skills, joint attention, and imitation.

Intake Procedures

We accept new clients into our program as our current clients graduate, move out of our service area or reduce the frequency of their therapy services. When we have a therapy space to offer, you will be contacted to set up an intake interview.

  • Pre-Intake Meeting (1 hour)  - Consultant and/or Regional Manager
    • This meeting will occur at the office and does not require children to be present. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information about our therapy program and services so that families can make an informed decision when setting up a therapy program for their child.
  • Intake interview (1.5 hours) - Consultant, Regional Manager and/or Team Leader
    • This meeting will occur at the office or family home
    • The purpose of this meeting is to begin to gather information from the family, and review any available assessment/consultant reports
    • The RM or TL will begin to complete the Early Start Denver Model Curriculum Checklist using parent report information and direct observation if the child is present
    • This will form part of the child’s Behaviour Plan of Intervention
  • Intake Assessment (1 hour) – Regional Manager and/or Team Leader
    • This assessment will occur at preschool, daycare, or a peer setting if available, or at the family home.
  • Report Writing and Goal Setting (approximately 10-12 hours) – report will usually be complete within 6 weeks of Intake assessment
  • Draft Copy of Initial Goals to Family – within 2-4 weeks
  • Scheduling of Sessions – can begin at Intake Interview

Therapy Services

On starting the program with Early Start Autism Therapy families will be provided with a regular therapy schedule that remains consistent each week. We schedule therapy at the following times:

Start time End time
9:00/9:30 11:00/11:30
30 minute lunch break for staff
12:00/12:30 2:00/2:30
2:30/3:00 4:30/5:00

Sessions are two hours in length (unless otherwise specified). Please note, available therapy times may vary within these times as required to accommodate interventionist scheduling and travel time. We offer a choice of 3, 4, or 5 days/week of therapy.

Therapy Location

Most therapy sessions occur in the family home. Therapy can also take place in another family member’s home or a daycare to accommodate parents’ schedules. Families will provide a quiet and distraction free environment for sessions.

Therapy Equipment

Our staff will bring all materials and equipment for the child’s therapy sessions.

Coordination of Services

Although we do not provide direct SLP, OT or PT services within our program, we are happy to coordinate services with professionals from public or private agencies. Families can feel free to invite outside professionals to Team Meetings or to join in with BI sessions as needed. We will utilize other professionals' recommendations to guide client goals during 1:1 intervention sessions on an ongoing basis.