Online training in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)


A training in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) of early intervention for children aged 0-60 months with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was organized by Ilia State University Child Development Institute and Caritas Czech Republic.

ESDM is an approach for working with very young children with ASD that foster children’s spontaneous tendency to approach and interact with others and their ability to engage with others. The ESDM seeks to empower children with ASD to become active participants in the world, initiating interactions with other people, which is the hallmark of autism. This is a relationship-based intervention, and involves the parents and families participation. In particular this intervention focuses on boosting children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and language abilities, as development in these domains is particularly affected by autism.

The workshop was delivered by ESDM professionals Michaela Jelen and Janet Harder, who represent the ESDM Canada. ESDM Canada is one of the leading organizations in the field. 

The workshop was attended by 11 professionals, who have already participated in ESDM introductory training with the support of Caritas Czech Republic.

The training was covered in six 3-hour sessions on ZOOM. In between the sessions participants were encouraged to work with children to receive the feedback from the trainers regarding their work.

The components of the model that were covered and demonstrated by all participants included:

1. Assessment of child skills using the ESDM Curriculum Checklist;
2. Intervention planning and goal setting;
3. Engaging in play-based frames for teaching, called Joint Activity Routines or JARs;
4. Using the ESDM Teaching Fidelity Rating System;
5. Capturing data during therapy.

The workshop will help diversify approaches of working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Georgia, expand the knowledge of field professionals about modern approaches and involve them in continuing education, which will have a positive impact on intervention results for children with ASD and their families.

The workshop was delivered within the project of Caritas Czech Republic “Improvement and extension of services for people with autism spectrum disorders in Georgia”. The project is funded by Czech Development Agency.

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