The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence-based intervention specifically developed for very young children with autism. ESDM is a play-based intervention that fuses behavioral and developmental principles for an integrated approach. ESDM can be implemented in different natural settings such as the home or the daycare/preschool by trained therapists as well as by parents within play and daily routines. ESDM aims to reduce the symptoms of autism and target all developmental areas.

The ESDM Introductory Workshop, required for those attending the Advanced Workshop, has been developed into an online, independent study to provide greater access to those seeking an overview of the model and to provide greater flexibility and less travel time for those attending the Advanced Workshop.

In the Introductory Workshop, you will learn about the theoretical and empirical framework, curriculum and teaching principles of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). Topics include:

  • Administering and completing a developmental assessment of children's skill levels
  • Developing individualized, developmentally appropriate teaching objectives
  • Implementing the ESDM teaching practices and fidelity system to evaluate technique use
  • Maintaining data management and addressing poor or limited child progress, when needed

Sally Rogers is co-developer of the Early Start Denver Model, a professor of psychiatry and a developmental psychologist who has a lifelong focus on developmental disabilities, particularly autism. She is known for her research in early developmental processes and treatment of early autism. At the MIND Institute, UC Davis Medical Center, she is currently involved in a project focusing on teaching language skills to young children diagnosed with autism.


This is a self-paced, independent study online course with pre-produced lessons and assessments. The course is not monitored nor does it have an instructor. You may move through the content at your own pace within six weeks. Successful completion prepares you to apply for the Advanced Workshop offered via the Collaborative Start Lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute and through selected trainers.


As the course conveys 0.7 continuing education units (CEUs) over 7 hours of online activity, successful completion for the credit and the certificate granting access to the Advanced Workshop is based on completing all modules and quizzes. Three attempts at each quiz are allowed. If you miss a question it is suggested you review the module prior to taking the quiz again.