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Steps to ESDM Certification

For Professionals: How to Become Certified in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

The following steps are intended for professionals interested in becoming certified in the ESDM and who:

  • Work regularly with 12-48 month-old children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Have educational degrees beyond a bachelor's (e.g., MA, Ph.D., MFT, SLP, OT)
  • Work as part of an interdisciplinary team (e.g., general/special education teacher, developmental/clinical psychologist, SLP, OT, behavior analyst)*
  • Have read the ESDM Manual and can bring their own copy to the workshops
  • Have completed each training step (defined below) before advancing to the next
  • Have the resources to submit training materials (after the workshop is complete) to our center for fidelity review and certification

* Priority for acceptance is given to team applications of 3-5 members

STEP 1: ORDER THE ESDM MANUAL
Read our training manual entitled, The Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism: Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement. The manual describes a developmental, naturalistic, and relationship-based approach for fostering children's initiative and engagement, and scaffolding their communication and interaction. Also included is the fidelity system for determining correct usage of the interactive procedures and a nonreproducible reference of the Curriculum Checklist for evaluation of children's skill levels and development of teaching objectives. The manual and Curriculum Checklist (sold separately) can be purchased here.

STEP 2: ATTEND TRAINING WORKSHOPS After you have read the manual, there are three types of workshops available for training in the ESDM. The initial Introductory Workshop will address the main aspects of the ESDM but is not intended to train professionals to fidelity. The Advanced Workshop includes interactive sessions with children with ASD in order to equip professionals with the information, skills, and resources necessary to correctly implement the ESDM within their organization. Professionals will be required to submit follow-up training materials to demonstrate their continued competency in the ESDM following each of these higher level workshops (details listed below). You must complete each workshop and receive certification before advancing to the next level. With the exception of the Introductory Workshop you cannot enroll concurrently in workshops.

Introductory Workshop
Learn about the theoretical and empirical framework, curriculum and teaching principles of the ESDM. Topics include how to:

  • Administer and complete a developmental assessment of children's skill levels
  • Develop individualized, developmentally appropriate teaching objectives
  • Implement the ESDM teaching practices and fidelity system to evaluate technique use
  • Maintain data systems and address poor or limited child progress, when needed

Advanced Workshop
For graduates of the Introductory Workshop, learn how to carry out ongoing therapy using the ESDM. Teams of three-five professionals will be grouped together to work directly with young children with ASD. Coaching and feedback will be provided on how to generate and embed a developmentally appropriate teaching curriculum into naturalistic routines for young children with ASD. Topics include how to:

  • Use the curriculum for evaluating children's skill levels across developmental domains
  • Build quarterly objectives and data systems and address poor or limited child progress when needed
  • Teach developmental objectives embedded inside naturalistic play routines
  • Self-evaluate technique use of intervention strategies

For more information or to register in these workshops, visit the UC Davis Extension website.

STEP THREE: SUBMIT TRAINING MATERIALS FOR CERTIFICATION
Following your participation in the Advanced Workshop, please submit the following materials to ensure correct usage of the ESDM.

Advanced Workshop, Round One Submission
These materials should be sent within one month of the workshop. Please contact the ESDM Training Coordinator** with questions well prior to the submission deadline. Materials sent after the submission deadline will not be accepted:

  • Two 15-minute videotaped samples of your therapy using the ESDM directly with a child with ASD. The two samples should be taped on different days, but may be of the same child. Please record the two samples continuously, without stopping or pausing the video; and at minimum should include three activities between you and the child
  • Scored Curriculum Checklist (see coding definitions on page 1);
  • Developed child objectives and breakdown of teaching steps;
  • Self-rated fidelity of ESDM therapy skills across individual teaching activities from the two videotaped samples; and
  • Scored data sheets of the child's progress across targeted teaching steps from the two videotaped samples

The submission will be evaluated according to the: (1) developmental appropriateness of Curriculum scoring, selected objectives, and progression of teaching steps, and (2) accuracy of fidelity and data scoring from videotaped samples. Written feedback of recommendations in each area will be provided by the trainer within one month of receiving the materials.

** ESDM Coordinator, Megan Manternach: 916-703-0465 or megan.manternach@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

Advanced Workshop, Round Two Submission
These materials are to be sent within two months of receipt from Round One feedback. Please contact the ESDM Training Coordinator** with questions well prior to the submission deadline. Materials sent after the submission deadline will not be accepted:

  • One 30-minute videotaped sample of your ESDM therapy with a different child with ASD from your Round One submission. Please record the sample continuously, without stopping or pausing the video; and at minimum should include three activities between you and the child
  • Scored Curriculum Checklist (see coding definitions on page 1);
  • Developed child objectives and breakdown of teaching steps;
  • Self-rated fidelity of ESDM therapy skills across individual teaching activities from the two videotaped samples; and
  • Scored data sheets of the child's progress across targeted teaching activities from the videotaped sample.

The submission will be evaluated according to the: (1) developmental appropriateness of Curriculum scoring, selected objectives, and progression of teaching steps, and (2) accuracy of fidelity and data scoring from videotaped samples. Written feedback of recommendations in each area will be provided by the trainer within one month of receiving the materials. Information will be shared on whether certification in the ESDM direct delivery phase has been met. (Options for continued ESDM consultation require per diem payment and are considered on an individual basis).

** ESDM Coordinator, Megan Manternach: 916-703-0465 or megan.manternach@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu