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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 early intervention or other early childhood learning environments.
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 early intervention or other early childhood learning environments.

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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.


School is the first opportunity for children with autism to apply the skills learnt during early intervention in a new and socially complex setting amongst their peers. Children’s social adjustment to school along with their friendship-building skills are just as important as academic success to their future and esteem.

This month’s Latest News is the first study to compare school-aged outcomes of 6-9-year-old children with autism who received group based delivery of the Early Start Denver Model (G-ESDM) within their community day care setting to children who received other community early intervention services, such as PECS, visual schedules, TEACCH strategies, or Applied Behavior Analysis.

The two groups differed on one main outcome. Children receiving G-ESDM compared to other interventions showed less problematic behaviors like aggression or antisocial behavior that would disrupt their play with peers. The stronger connection and engagement with peers may be explained by the social learning approach of the G-ESDM- that is learning from the communication and actions of others in everyday experiences and settings, as all children naturally do.

Click the article to read more about children who received different models of community based early intervention during their preschool years.
 
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.

When it’s not ideal weather or you just can’t get outside, it can be hard to keep thinking of things to do with a young child who’s raring to go all the time but hasn’t got the concentration to stick with one activity for very long. Below are some different activities- physical, sensory, arty, crafty, surprising, messy, or just plain silly- to choose from throughout the day, depending on each child’s mood and energy levels. 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!


1. Follow the Leader- The child copies everything you do: touching toes, jumping, crawling, patting your tummy, putting your slippers on your head – the sillier the better! Then it’s the child’s turn to lead...

2. Rescue the Animals- Gather up some toy animals (or other small objects like cars, pegs, or action hero figurines) and a roll of masking tape. Use strips of masking tape to stick the toy animals, one by one, to a window or a door. Then encourage the child to ‘rescue’ the toys by carefully peeling/pulling off the tape. The child may also enjoy re-sticking the animals back on the window for you to rescue for round two! It’s a fun game for toddlers that’s really good for developing fine-motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.

3. Hunt for Buried Treasure- You’ll need some small toys to bury in dried beans, rice, or sand for this one (click here to make super-quick play sand with just two ingredients-flour and oil). Put the dried beans, rice, or sand in a bin or bowl and hide the toys in it. Give the child materials to ‘hunt for treasures’ like a spoon, fork, rake, cup, and sieve. (hint: put a mat/sheet on the floor under the bowl to catch any stray shoveled grains.)

4. Play Parcel Surprise- Use newspaper, construction paper, or any type of paper to wrap up a few of the child’s favorite toys (don’t use too much sticky tape). Opaque bags work too. Then give one parcel at a time to the child and ask them to guess what’s inside – is it Teddy? Or Dolly? Or Panda? Then let the child unwrap the toy (OK, tear off the paper) and enjoy the surprise of finding out.

5. Magical Painting- Draw a simple design on paper with a white candle or crayon. Make up watery paint in a strong color for the child to paint the paper. As they paint the paper, it will reveal the ‘magic’ hidden design.

6. Hunt the Teddy- Hide Teddy (or another favorite toy) somewhere in the room (where your child can reach it) and go looking for Teddy together. Perhaps Teddy will ‘magically’ squeak when you get near (how are your ventriloquism skills?). Older toddlers might enjoy hiding Teddy for you to find, too.
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