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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 and here for a handout of activity ideas mentioned!
Want more of this week's Quick Tip? Click the video icon above!
Latest News

Read monthly research about the ESDM and its intervention effects for children with or at risk of autism; coaching supports for their families; and/or interactive tools to help early childhood professionals uses its practices with families. Each monthly article is publicly available for free access.


A critical dilemma faced by families, professionals, and policy makers is whether children on the autism spectrum should be educated in inclusive or specialized settings. Although a least restrictive environment has important moral and educational merit, physical proximity in inclusive classrooms without autism-specific strategies and supports is not enough for a successful educational experience. The G-ESDM (or group-based Early Start Denver Model) uses the same principles and strategies as the original ESDM in classroom settings for children on the autism spectrum. A previous Latest News showed similar educational benefits with the G-ESDM for 44 children with autism across one school calendar year within either classrooms that included only other autistic children (“specialized”) or mostly children who were typically developing (“inclusive”).

This month’s Latest News revisits the same group of children to understand how their characteristics at the start of their school year might benefit the most from G-ESDM within each of their classrooms. Children who spent more time paying attention to people and had higher cognitive skills seemed to experience more gains from the G-ESDM in inclusive classrooms; whereas these factors did not relate to gains for children educated in specialized classrooms.

Click the article (to the right) to read more about factors associated with positive early learning outcomes for children with autism in inclusive versus specialized settings.
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 environments.

Holidays are a great time to bond with children and maybe even let our own inner child emerge once again. With Christmas fast approaching, this month’s theme is quick, easy activities to keep children active and entertained while spending some quality time together. 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. 
Sticky Wall- Create an adorable Santa Claus, Christmas tree, or other holiday images sticky wall. Use contact paper (or you can tape regular paper to the wall if you don't have contact paper) and glue cotton balls, googly eyes, and shapes for the nose, mouth, and other body parts too. A fun variation is color matching "Christmas lights" out of construction paper to the matching color dot on the "light strand"; adding letters to spell out words; or placing bows and stickers to the paper. 

Handprints- Paint hands and press onto the paper to make a Christmas tree, wreath, bell, reindeer, or other holiday images. A good thumb print can become the tree trunk or reindeer hooves and decorate with sequins, stars, confetti, ribbon bows, stickers, or just use markers to draw on decorations. Don't forget the star on top!
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