The Group-Based Early Start Denver Model (G-ESDM ) is an approach developed at La Trobe university for delivering ESDM in group based programs. By implementing the G-ESDM children can receive treatment within existing community programs; the group environment provides them with opportunities to participate in cooperative play activities with peers and to initiate communication with peers. Furthermore it allows for targeting educational goals in the social domains.
The G-ESDM Manual (available here) was published at 2017 as part of the cooperation between La Trobe university and Prof. Rogers own team, Dr. Giacomo Vivanti and Dr. Cynthia Zierhut who joined the Australian program to lead the research and implementation of a group based ESDM program, The outcomes of this program have been reported in a number of scientific publications.
It is our goal here at the Early Days Autism Center (EDAC) to implement and support programs using G-ESDM in community centers in the Sacramento and Bay Area and to create partnerships with similar G-ESDM programs around the world. We believe that peers are the model for the child in social interactions, rather than the adult, as for any other child.
EDAC current G-ESDM projects include:
Parent Coaching (P-ESDM) play groups– Evidenced based parent coaching on the ESDM strategies. The group setting allows parents to share and learn together and to establish community connections. The children enjoy group activities and peer play while parents support their play.
The groups are currently running in the Sacramento area and we are currently working on developing a similar program in the bay area.
Inclusion programs in existing community pre-schools– In the program, children with ASD joined one of the pre-school classes like every other student; they are accompanied by an interventionist (IA- Instructional assistant) who helps them by mediating daily routines and help them play with their peers and practice social skills. The child participates in all of the activities alongside the other children in their class. The IA or the class teacher are utilizing small play group to create learning opportunities for children’s in inclusive setting. The small group can be controlled and specially fitted to match child needs and personal developmental goals.
Description: Opening August 2017! Based on her work with in Melbourne Australia, Dr. Zierhut and the EDAC team has partnered with Capital Christian Early Education Center and the University of Salerno, Department of Human Development, Philosophical and Pedagogical Science to create a laboratory classroom to achieve the following aims:
1. Create the first full inclusion G-ESDM classroom in the United States based on the evidence and practice as described in
2. Create a laboratory classroom to investigate the enablers and barriers to teacher training in the G-ESDM and model dissemination in countries that practice full inclusion such as Italy.
3. Blend the developmental aspects of the G-ESDM with a Reggio Emilia emergent curriculum within the context of a community based setting that has been serving children in a more traditional approach for more that 20 years.
Socially inclusive settings are more beneficial than segregated ones in children with special needs, according to evidence these children make substantial gains alongside their peers whom they befriend and, together, become a community.
Research has shown that children with typical development that play with children with special needs benefit themselves. Inclusive programs allows children to experience giving and receiving from others, as well as learning moral values like; accepting the differences and understanding that we all experience different difficulties in different things ,enhancing empathy, tolerance and helping others in society.
Furthermore, in school that have entered the program the staff is enjoying the support of Developmental Specialists that are present in the school. This gives the staff natural opportunities to learn and be updated on latest research on how children learn and how to adjust environment to children needs, strength and difficulties.
These Environments creates opportunities for early childhood educators and care professionals to work together with health providers to build a developmental, educational inclusive program where there is room for individuated learning, led by the child motivation and abilities.