top of page

Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: The Early Start Denver Model

science daily-logo.jpg

Autism early intervention found to normalize brain activity in children as young as 18 months

Sage Journals-LOGO.jpg

The Early Start Denver Model: A Case Study of an Innovative Practice

What is ESDM? 

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is one of two evidence-based early intervention programs for children with autism that has been scientifically proven to be effective and recommended by paediatrician, the other being the Applied Behaviour Analysis model (ABA).

At Best Future Centre, we provide intensive one on one Early Start Denver Model programs for children who have speech delay or are on the autism spectrum. We follow closely the program developed by the UC Davis MIND Institute and cater for individual needs of each child.

What is ESDM

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence-based behaviour early intervention specifically developed for very young children with autism. ESDM is a play-based intervention that fuses behavioural and developmental principles into an integrated approach. ESDM can be implemented in different natural settings such as at home, day care or 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 through the use of behavioural therapy, detailed age based goals and data-based approach.


We deliver ESDM therapy whilst fusing practical application of Applied Behaviour Analysis where necessary along the way.


ESDM focuses on boosting children’s cognitive, social, emotional and language abilities and has been proven to be effective in improving the rate of development for all children on the autism spectrum and decrease the symptoms of autism. Best Future Children Development Centre provide ESDM therapy. We aim to provide the best treatment for autism in Melbourne and also have a speech therapy clinic in our wholistic approach to providing autism services.

Scientifically proven treatment for autism

According to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, children with the mildest cases of autism after receiving ESDM therapy can become "indistinguishable" from children who are not on the spectrum as result of changes in their brain. Similarly, research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also found that the ESDM therapy can normalise brain functioning for children with mild autism symptoms.

Following 5 years of randomised clinical trials for ESDM, the University of Washington found that children who received ESDM therapeutic intervention had on average an increase in IQ score of 17.6 points compared to 4 points for children attending other community-based therapy programs. The study also showed that children who have received 2 years of more of ESDM therapy for 20 hours per week had greater improvements in language and cognitive abilities and adaptive behaviour, and had fewer autism symptoms than the children who received other interventions.


ESDM is recognised, taught and studied at Australian universities which are leading in the field of diagnosis, therapy and treatment for autism.

Publications can be found from links above.

bottom of page