Mailman Center Implements Early Start Denver Model (FL UCEDD/LEND)

October 15, 2019

Therapists at the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development (MCCD) have embarked on an ambitious project to bring Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) services in English and Spanish to Miami. ESDM is an evidence-based intervention specifically developed for very young children with autism that fuses behavioral and developmental principles for an integrated approach. ESDM can be implemented in a clinic as well as different natural settings such as the home or the daycare/preschool by trained therapists and by parents within play and daily routines.

Over a dozen of well-controlled studies have demonstrated the benefits of ESDM as an early intervention for autism among children as young as 18 months across a wide range of learning abilities. Benefits include improved learning and language abilities, adaptive behavior and reduced symptoms of autism. Research using brain scans suggests that ESDM improves brain activity associated with social and communication skills. Five therapists including psychologists, a speech and language pathologist and an ABA therapist, have completed the required coursework and are currently in the process of becoming certified.

Recognizing a gap between early intervention services that are typically low in frequency, intensity and specificity, and the increasing number of toddlers being identified with ASD, therapy will be available this Fall for a limited number of children currently receiving services through other MCCD programs. Work with this small cohort of children will provide pilot data to obtain funding to expand services to the larger community and train community partners.