ESDM Online

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Active Ingredients for Change
Young children learn best when having fun. Whether it is play, bath, meal time, or another routine, each moment can involve the ESDM to help children connect, communicate, and learn. See how you can get started with the ESDM with your child or the families whom you support in an early childhood learning environment.
Quick Tip 

Find out how to use tips from the ESDM for early social-communication skills important to life-long learning, behavior, and health with your child or with families whom you support in an early childhood learning environment.

Click the video icon (to the left) for the latest Quick Tip video. 
Want more of this week's Quick Tip? Click the video icon above!
Latest News

Read monthly research about intervention outcomes for children with or at risk of autism; coaching supports for their families; and/or family-centered, culturally inclusive coaching tools to help early childhood professionals support families. Each monthly article is publicly available for free access.
This month’s Latest News reviewed predictors of response to two behavioral interventions- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) and Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)- in children on the autism spectrum whose treatment started by 48 months of age.

A higher IQ for children starting EIBI represented the strongest predictor of positive response to the intervention; while social cognitive skills, including intention to communicate, receptive and expressive language, and attention to faces, most consistently predicted response to ESDM. Children respond differently to early intervention and having insight to help guide “which treatment for which child” would maximize the impact of starting early for learning and development.

 Click the article (to the right) to read more.
Play of the Month
Play not only brings smiles to children's faces but also helps them learn, feel good about themselves, and enjoy the interaction that comes from doing something with someone. Join me each month for Play of the Month to try with your child or the families whom you support in early intervention or other early childhood learning environment.

Mr. (and Mrs.) Potato Head is a classic toy with endless, goofy combinations of silly faces to make. You can find a list of general play strategies here to help you discover what level of play your child enjoys or the children and families whom you support in an early learning environment. Included are example words and sentences in italics to enrich children's language and vocabulary while playing. Bonus idea is a regular old potato can work just as well to do the same play ideas.

Pay attention to what children like (or seem curious about) and follow their lead as long as you are a part of the action, too. Remember, the most important thing is for children to have fun doing this with you! Fun means engagement and that excites children's brains and bodies for meaningful learning to happen.

Simple play actions that encourage children to explore, use their senses, and movement:

  • Roll Mr. Potato Head across the floor back and forth to each other – this only works if he is a naked potato! (“He’s rolling.”)

  • Plop Mr. Potato Head in and out of water to make a big splash. ("Potato in," "Dump," "Out of water")  

Combination play that encourages multi-step actions for children to construct and accomplish goals:
  • Push and pull the pieces into Mr. Potato Head. They don’t have to make a face, let your child take the lead! (“Nose. Eyes. Hand. You pulled it out.”)

  • Open the back and put pieces in and out. (“It’s open. The hat is in. The ear came out.”)

  • Put pieces in the back, close the door, shake him up and dump them out! (“It’s full. We’re shaking Mr. Potato. It’s loud. The pieces came out.”)

  • Play peek-a-boo with Mr. Potato Head! Hide him under a blanket or pieces of furniture and have him pop out. (“He’s hiding! He’s under the blanket.”)

  • Make Mr. Potato Head sneeze and have his parts fly off. This always elicits big laughs and become a fun game! Grab some tissues and make a routine out of it where he sneezes and his parts fly off, the child wipes his nose and puts the pieces back together. (“Achoo! He sneezed. His nose fell off!”)

Imaginary play that encourages children to make-believe and role-play:

  • Get out some utensils and feed Mr. Potato Head a snack. (“A fork. Cupcake. He’s eating.”)

  • You can pretend that Mr. Potato Head gets hurt when one of his body parts fall off and play “doctor.” You can use masking or painter’s tape as a band aid. (“Mr. Potato Head got hurt. A band-aid. The band-aid it’s his arm.”)

  • Hide one of Mr. Potato head’s body parts and have him find it. It will be difficult to see without his eyes, or hard to walk without his feet! Make this as silly as your child wants! (you can talk as Mr. Potato Head…”Where are my eyes? I can’t see. Help me find them. Which way do I go? Are these my eyes?”)

  • Make a pool or bath out of a Tupperware container or bowl and have Mr. Potato Head take a swim. Don’t forget to grab a washcloth to use as a towel when Mr. Potato Head is ready to dry off! (“Water. He’s swimming. He got wet. You’re drying him. He’s dry!”)

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