Early Start Denver Model

View our Term 1, 2024 group therapy program schedule


An effective early intervention program that helps young children enjoy better outcomes

Fun and flexible early intervention support based on developmental science. That’s how certified ESDM therapists help your child adapt to daily routines and learn positive behaviours. ESDM supports young children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays. It’s a form of behavioural therapy that provides lasting results, so your child can enjoy a better quality of life.

ESDM therapy follows a play-based approach to improve language, social and cognitive skills. Fun activities are used to help your child meet their goals and teaching needs. IT can be delivered in a group setting or one-on-one, at home, in clinics, at school or where your child needs us most. ESDM therapists usually work with children up to 6 years of age, focusing on the age group of toddlers and preschoolers.


How ESDM therapy enhances your child’s progress

ESDM therapy helps young children make their own choices, find their voice, and explore their interests. Our ESDM therapists will create a personalised care plan that addresses your child’s unique needs.

ESDM can help:

  • Explore your child’s interests and encouraging interaction, communication and connection
  • Improve language, social and cognitive skills so your child can better adapt to daily routines and activities
  • Help your child relate to and connect with others in a group setting, and participate in joint activities to build social skills
  • Help you connect better as parents and families

How ESDM therapy works at Early Start Australia

Our ESDM program takes a holistic approach, with a rounded team. This includes parents, certified ESDM therapists and other therapy services with ESA. We may work with occupational therapists, psychologists and more, depending on what your child needs.

We begin with an ESDM curriculum checklist that looks at which skills will help your child’s progress. We’ll work with you to develop individual goals and a comprehensive treatment plan. As we work together towards these goals, we carefully track progress, adjusting when needed to ensure success.


Clinic contact details

5/6 Woodlake Boulevard
Durack NT 0830


Clinic Phone
New Clients Phone

Opening hours

Monday : 8.30am - 5pm
Tuesday : 8.30am - 5pm
Wednesday : 8.30am - 5pm
Thursday : 8.30am - 5pm
Friday : 8.30am - 3pm

Find a clinic near you

We have clinics in every state and territory providing assessments, early childhood intervention therapies, and support to help you thrive.

Find a clinic

Frequently asked questions about ESDM therapy

Absolutely. ESDM is built on solid research into evidence-based approaches and behavioural therapy. Its effectiveness was proven in a number of randomised trials and research papers. This research spans many countries and reviews many ways ESDM therapy has delivered unmatched results.

ESDM therapy was designed primarily for toddlers and preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder or children in this age group with developmental challenges.

Both ESDM and ABA are evidence-based therapies that can help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there are some differences between the two approaches.

The ESDM approach is child-led, allowing them to make choices. It uses natural learning opportunities and play to encourage your child’s progress in a fun and engaging way. ABA therapy is a structured approach that breaks skills into smaller steps and rewards specific behaviours.

While both therapies are effective, they cater to different needs. ESDM suits young children who need a more natural and flexible approach. ABA may suit older children or those who need a more structured and targeted approach.

Most children respond positively to the early intervention program. While gains can come quickly for some, it takes time and consistency for others. Over time, if we don’t see improvements, our ESDM-certified therapists will look at other approaches that suit your child’s progress. Every child is unique, and their needs are different. The important thing is to stay proactive with their support, adjust as needed, and continue to monitor and workshop our strategy.

This is a tool we use to assess your child’s progress with our ESDM program. It covers:

  1. Communication skills – using words to express needs, socially interact, and follow simple instructions.
  2. Social skills – making eye contact, sharing attention, taking turns, and engaging in joint attention.
  3. Play skills – exploring toys, participating in joint activities, and engaging in imaginative play.
  4. Self-help skills – dressing, eating and using the bathroom independently.

The checklist also includes specific tasks or behaviours to suit your child’s progress. We then use our assessment to guide the therapy goals and activities for your child.

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapy originated in the USA in 1981. It was originally known as the ‘play school model’ as it focused on merging learning into a child’s interests and playtime.

The Early Start Australia Difference 

esa difference

Our dedicated team of health professionals are ready to get started when you are.  

Australia-wide our promise is the same. We’ll listen and support you to reach your therapy goals, and we’ll have some fun along the way. We work with people of all ages and abilities to help them develop language, motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. Building capabilities and life skills to help them thrive.  

The Early Start Australia promise

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Multi-disciplinary team

Your support team is made up of more than just behaviour support practitioners. We believe in a multi-disciplinary approach and provide holistic care alongside other therapy services.

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Centres across Australia

With clinics and capacity in every state and territory, you’re guaranteed to get the help you need, when and where you need it most. Can’t get to a clinic? We also offer telehealth services.

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Registered NDIS provider

We’re a registered NDIS behaviour support practitioner. Our services fall under your NDIS plan, and meet the safety and quality standards of the NDIS.

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Early intervention for all ages

Positive behaviour support strategies aren’t just for children. Our early intervention services cater to all ages, needs and abilities. The earlier you start your therapy journey, the better your outcomes.

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