Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 3140–3153 | Cite as

Effectiveness and Feasibility of the Early Start Denver Model Implemented in a Group-Based Community Childcare Setting

  • Giacomo VivantiEmail author
  • Jessica Paynter
  • Ed Duncan
  • Hannah Fothergill
  • Cheryl Dissanayake
  • Sally J. Rogers
  • the Victorian ASELCC Team
Original Paper


A recent study documented the efficacy of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) delivered in a 1:1 fashion. In the current study we investigated the effectiveness and feasibility of the ESDM in the context of a long-day care community service, with a child-staff ratio of 1:3. Outcomes of 27 preschoolers with ASD undergoing 15–25 h per week of ESDM over 12 months were compared to those of 30 peers with ASD undergoing a different intervention program delivered in a similar community long-day care service. Children in both groups made gains in cognitive, adaptive and social skills. Participants in the ESDM group showed significantly higher gains in developmental rate and receptive language.


Autism spectrum disorder Early Start Denver Model Effectiveness Community implementation Early intervention 



The present research was supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. We thank Parise Gentikoglou, Jenny Mayes, Adriana Zoumbilis, Denise Williams and Anu Massey for their assistance in running the Victorian ASELCC program. We also thank Kristelle Hudry, David Trembath, Josie Barbaro, Wojciech Nadachowski, Elfriede Ihsen, Kat Crea, Nusrat Ahmed, Heather Nuske, Megan Clark, Lisa Rumsey, Megan Grant, Carmela Germano, and Cathy Bent from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre for assistance with the assessment and data collection process. Thanks to James Scott, Helen Heussler, and Wendi Beamish, members of the AEIOU Research Advisory Group for their guidance in the initial stages of this project. Thank you also to Prof. Margot Prior for constant encouragement and support. Finally, we thank all the children who took part in the project, as well as the parents who gave so generously of their time by filling forms and questionnaires.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Vivanti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jessica Paynter
    • 3
  • Ed Duncan
    • 2
  • Hannah Fothergill
    • 3
  • Cheryl Dissanayake
    • 1
  • Sally J. Rogers
    • 4
  • the Victorian ASELCC Team
    • 2
  1. 1.Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Psychological ScienceLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care CentreLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Research and Psychology DepartmentAEIOU FoundationBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.The MIND InstituteUniversity of California, Davis Medical CenterSacramentoUSA

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