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What Makes the ESDM So Effective?

Given that early learning for infants and toddlers is significantly shaped by the quality of connections between children and adults, ESDM incorporates sensitive, responsive strategies within the daily learning moments facilitated by parents, family members, and others to foster child learning. ESDM seamlessly blends a developmental, play-based, relationship-oriented approach with the principles of applied behavior analysis, resulting in a cohesive method to support children with ASD.

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What is the ESDM?

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a comprehensive, naturalistic developmental behavioral early intervention strategy developed by Drs. Sally Rogers and Geraldine Dawson. It is tailored for children aged 12 to 60 months who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or may be at risk of it. Named as a top medical breakthrough by TIME Magazine in 2012, the ESDM has been shown to be effective in improving the developmental outcomes of young children with ASD. The model aims to foster language development, social interaction, and learning while accelerating the overall development of children in various domains, including cognitive, social-emotional, adaptive, and language skills. 

For more information about the importance of early intervention for children with ASD, check out this video by Dr. Sally Rogers (co-developer of the ESDM)

To access further details regarding the terminology associated with ESDM therapy, please click on this link.


Key Features of the ESDM

Engaging and Enjoyable: ESDM emphasizes fun, fostering a child's willingness to connect, engage, and retain information. By making the learning process enjoyable, we create memorable experiences.

Early Start, Greater Potential: The ESDM advocates for starting interventions early, as it holds the key to unlocking a child's full developmental potential. The earlier we begin, the greater the impact on overall growth and development.

Versatile Learning: The ESDM approach seamlessly integrates into daily activities unlocking learning opportunities in familiar environments. Learning occurs across all domains of development for young children, ensuring a comprehensive, flexible, and well-rounded educational experience.

Family-Centric: Acknowledging the uniqueness of each family, the ESDM values the insights parents bring to understanding their child's abilities and areas of need. The family is an essential partner in the intervention process and the expert of their own child. 

Tailored to Individuals: The ESDM believes in customization and collaborative planning, combining parental insights with clinical expertise to create personalized intervention goals for children to establish meaningful connections with others.

Evidence-Based: Grounded in promising research, the ESDM shows improved outcomes, especially in cognition and language when initiated early.

ESDM in Action 

Check out the ESDM in action! This video offers a brief yet impactful glimpse into the model's effectiveness for young children with ASD.

Hover & Click to listen


At SAGE Learning Systems, we provide three distinct services designed to assist professionals seeking to enhance their understanding of the ESDM and boost their proficiency in ESDM implementation.

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ESDM Advanced Workshop

Created for professionals aiming to integrate the ESDM into their practice. 

*Successful participation in the ESDM Introductory workshop is a prerequisite.

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Tailored for professionals aspiring to attain ESDM Certified Therapist status. 

*Completion of both the Intro & Advanced ESDM workshop is required.

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ESDM Mentorship Program

Tailored for already certified ESDM therapists seeking ongoing support and mentorship to enhance their expertise and effectiveness in implementing the ESDM.


ESDM Advanced Workshop

The goal of the ESDM Advanced Workshop is to enhance the delivery of early intervention services to young children with ASD through high implementation of the ESDM. This workshop is available through SAGE Learning Systems and is offered either in person, or through video conferencing technology (i.e., Zoom). We regularly offer ESDM Advanced workshops throughout the year. Please check our upcoming workshops for future offerings or contact us and let us know your specific training needs.


​The ESDM Advanced Workshops offered through SAGE Learning Systems, will be provided by the ESDM Certified Trainer, Dr. Jamie Hughes-Lika. She has extensive experience in both the theoretical and practical application of ESDM when working with young children with ASD. Additionally, she has helped trainees from different countries and cultures to adopt the ESDM to their clinical and/or research needs. You can read more about Dr. Jamie’s professional background and research interests here.

Discover the flexibility of our ESDM workshops, available both in-person and online to cater to your learning preferences and convenience.


In-Person Advanced ESDM Workshops

Teams of up to five professionals are grouped together to receive three 8-hour days of applied hands-on practice, reflection, and evaluation of direct practice with autistic children and supervision implementing an ESDM intervention program by a qualified, experienced ESDM Certified Trainer. Coaching and feedback will be provided on how to generate and embed a developmentally appropriate teaching curriculum into naturalistic routines for young children on the autism spectrum. Completion of all learning activities (see below) across the three-day workshop is required for a certificate of attendance to be issued. Location: We come to you! Dr. Jamie will travel to your location, including international travel. Feel free to contact us to coordinate a meeting and address inquiries related to training, travel expenses, and scheduling. Workshop Details: The in-person Advanced ESDM Workshop spans three days and takes place at your chosen location and includes a child with ASD from your specific setting. During the workshop, participants will receive guidance at every stage of ESDM intervention, covering assessment, program design, program implementation, and data collection. Key Information: The workshop offers practical interaction with children and their families in small groups of 3 to 5 trainees under the attentive supervision and guidance of a Certified ESDM trainer. The trainer-to-trainee ratio in these workshops is 1:5, with one child and their family assisting in the training of each group of five trainees. Required Materials: 1. ESDM Curriculum Checklist 2. Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism: Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement book 3. An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn book Workshop Cost: $2,000 per day + plus travel costs


Online Advanced ESDM Workshops

In order to provide ESDM training to professionals who work in areas where ESDM services are not currently provided, we also offer remote (online) workshops. These workshops are delivered (via live Zoom stream) to facilitate access for all interested professionals. The course is delivered as a series of 6 half-day workshops, each a week apart. This provides flexibility and time between each session for reflection and practice in each participant’s own workplace. Participants will receive online supervision to assess a child with ASD and develop and implement an intervention program, using the ESDM teaching principles. Coaching and feedback will be provided by a Certified ESDM Trainer across the 6 x half-day (3-hour) sessions. Location: Remote workshop conducted via Zoom Workshop Details: The Remote Advanced Workshop consists of six sessions lasting 2.5 to 3 hours each, focusing on the exploration of ESDM theory and practical application. Participants will be tasked with weekly assignments aimed at honing their ESDM implementation skills. During the breaks between sessions, attendees will carry out weekly assignments with a child at their location and provide short video clips for review. Individualized feedback is offered to participants within a group coaching framework, where they can also share and reflect on their experiences in small groups. Key Information: The Advanced Workshop incorporates interactive online sessions, offering participants the chance to receive coaching from the trainer within a small group format of 3 to 5 professionals. During these sessions, participants can practice the approach and benefit from direct feedback on their video submissions. Professionals are encouraged to apply the full model with a child at their location, and they can review their progress with personalized coaching from the trainer. Sharing and reflecting on their experiences take place within small groups. Required Materials: 1. ESDM Curriculum Checklist 2. Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism: Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement book 3. An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn book. Workshop Cost: The 6-week remote advanced ESDM workshop is $2,000 US dollars, per person


ESDM Therapist Certification 


Acquire versatile skills, guided by evidence-based practices, and become part of a community committed to fostering overall development for young children with ASD.

What is an ESDM Certified Therapist?

ESDM Certified Therapists are experts who have finished a series of training sessions, including supervised practice under a Certified ESDM trainer. They have demonstrated their proficiency in applying ESDM techniques with children on the autism spectrum while maintaining fidelity in their use. These certified therapists are also equipped to provide supervision to other team members if they are based in the same physical location. An ESDM therapist may be a psychologist, behaviorist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, early intervention specialist or developmental pediatrician. What’s important is that they have ESDM training and certification.

There are 5 Main Steps to Certification 

Step 1. Dive into the Materials 
Step 2. Get started with the ESDM Introductory Course 
Step 3. Participate in an ESDM Advanced Workshop (Application Form)
Step 4. Apply for certification Application Form
Step 5. Successfully complete the certification program requirements 

For more information, review the ESDM Therapist Certification Program Overview document from the UC Davis MIND Institute website 

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Discover what others are saying about their experiences with our Advanced Workshops and Certification Program and how it has made a difference in their lives.

Attending the Advanced ESDM Workshop was a game-changer for my practice. The in-depth training, hands-on sessions, and expert insights took my skills to a whole new level. I now feel more confident and effective in working with children on the autism spectrum.

Sophia K.

If you're serious about ESDM, this workshop is a must. The advanced techniques and strategies I learned have been transformational. It's a fantastic investment in your professional development. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone who is looking to grow your skills as an ESDM therapist.

Amanda G.

Raising Hands

ESDM Services FAQs

  • Who is the NDBI Essentials Membership For?
    Our membership is tailored to suit a diverse range of individuals, including behavior analysts, technicians, educators, clinicians, paraprofessionals, early intervention providers, and administrators. It's designed for those seeking access to a wealth of training videos and resources covering a wide array of NDBI topics, all while becoming part of a supportive and exclusive online community.
  • How can I get my organization to enroll me in the membership?
    Uncertain about how to begin? Require assistance in requesting your organization to invest in this membership for your professional development? No problem! You can utilize our "Membership Funding Request” email template to initiate the process.
  • Is there a membership group discount?
    We're here to help all of your staff gain access to the support, resources, and continuing education units (CEUs) they need! We understand the significance of ensuring that every practitioner in your organization receives top-notch training and follows a consistent approach to programming. Feel free to inquire about our discounted pricing for bulk purchases.
  • When will I be able to access the resources?
    Immediately after registering, you will receive an invitation to join the NDBI Essentials Membership. Once your account is set up, you can access the membership content. As long as you maintain your active membership status, you'll have continuous access to new resources, and you can revisit the training videos as often as you like.
  • What access will I have to Dr. Jamie as a member?
    If you’re looking for Dr. Jamie, this is where you’ll find her! She publishes new, members-only content multiple times per week and hosts live events two to three times per month. Join her for weekly office hours, Mentor Monday chats, and CEU offerings.
  • How much time should I spend here?
    There's no one-size-fits-all approach to online community participation. It ultimately comes down to your goals, the nature of the community, and your own availability. The key is to find a balance that works for you and allows you to derive value from the community while enjoying the experience. You can choose how much time you spend here, but a thriving community benefits most from active member participation. We encourage you to visit regularly to seek answers to your questions and to extend a helping hand to others.
  • What if there is a scheduling conflict and I can’t attend the live events?
    No need to worry. The content will be saved and shared within the community, allowing you to watch it at your convenience.
  • What is the cancellation policy?
    You have the flexibility to cancel any monthly subscription membership at any time. All memberships are set to renew automatically according to your subscription plan.
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