ESDM for parents and carers

These courses and support services are designed for parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders.  Because infant-toddler learning is primarily influenced by the quality of adult-child relationships, Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) strategies can turn everyday activities and routines into opportunities to promote your child’s communication, development and learning.

Early Start Support Pathway

For Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Your child has been diagnosed with ASD? See the steps below for ways we can help support you and your child.


Elizabeth Aylward, Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Program Manager at Early Start, University of Wollongong, explains the benefits of ESDM for parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders.

How can the ‘ESDM for the Home’ course, designed for Parents and Carers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) be useful?

In the home- Um just getting through the day, just going getting through a mealtime, getting your child in and out of the car, taking your child out into public to a park or to a shopping center. They are all enormous challenges for a parent who has not learned those specialist skills Again, you know, in how to engage their child and how to have fun with their child and just how to play with their Child, and how any moment in a day from bath time to meal time can actually be turned into therapy. It doesn't have to be an add-on therapy where the parent you know has to stick down at a desk and a chair child with them – no- it can be built into every single moment of their Day. And you know the science behind fun is that when a child's having fun they're learning at a faster rate and they're more likely to remember what they've learned and the child having fun is also keeping the child's motivation optimized and they just want to they want to be spending time with us.

Training and workshops

Families may use NDIS funding to support course attendance.

This small group course is designed for parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders. Families may use NDIS funding for the full cost of the workshop (Capacity Building Supports for Early Childhood Interventions-Other Therapy, CODE: 15_005_0118_1_3).

Course sessions, delivered online via zoom, are designed specifically for the home setting, so that parents learn how to embed the ESDM teaching principles in everyday routines.

Each week we will learn the strategies to turn everyday activities and routines into opportunities to promote your child’s communication, behaviour and learning.

Please note that this group workshop is a pre-requisite to the ESDM one-on-one Parent Coaching Program.

Following completion of this workshop you will be invited to join a FREE Parent Support Group, held every second month for ongoing support.

Topics covered in ‘ESDM for the Home’ sessions

  • Session 1: Understanding ASD and its Impact on Your Child’s Development
  • Session 2:  Becoming a Play Partner with Your Child in Everyday Routines and Activities
  • Session 3: Using the ESDM Principles to Guide all of Your Interactions with your Child at Home
  • Session 4: Activities and Materials that will Support the Interactions you have with Your Child
  • Session 5: Understanding and Managing and Unwanted Behaviours you may be experiencing with your child 

Cost: $858 (Includes GST)
5 weekly sessions: 10.30 - 12pm

Course dates for 2022

  • Series 1 Start: Wednesday, 9 February, 2022 10-11:30am | (Completed)
  • Series 2 Start: Wednesday, 27 April-25 May, 2022 10:30am-12:00noon | (Completed)
  • Series 3 Start: Wednesday, 15 June-20 July, 2022 10:30am-12:00noon | (Completed)
  • Series 4 Start: Wednesday, 10 August-7 September, 2022 10:30am-12:00noon | FULL
  • Series 5 Start: Wednesday, 28 September-26 October, 2022 10:30am-12:00noon | BOOK NOW
  • Series 6 Start: Wednesday, 16 November-14 December, 2022 10:30am-12:00noon | BOOK NOW

This 12 week program is designed to support parents to incorporate the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) techniques into their everyday routines at home with their young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Families may use NDIS funding for the full cost of the workshop (Parent Capacity Building).

Parent coaching founded on clinical knowledge and coaching practices uses the same values and techniques that are at the heart of the ESDM. This approach sees parents as experts and partners in the intervention process. The majority of activities in the session focus on parents interacting with their children in their own routines. The ESDM therapist serves as a coach, a supportive person whose goal is to assist the parents to achieve their goals for their child and for themselves. 

Coaching is scheduled for an hour each week and can be done in person, in the clinic setting at Early Start University of Wollongong or delivered via zoom into your home. 

This program is an appropriate starting point for your child after diagnosis. Following the completion of this program, you and your child will be referred to the ESDM Early Intervention Service for direct child therapy. 

Cost: $1,800 plus GST for 12 sessions (fully funded by NDIS)

To schedule your sessions or to have an initial conversation email us at

Support services

Services for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This is a comprehensive developmental assessment that is completed by a Certified ESDM Therapist to enable you and your child to participate in our Parent ESDM Coaching Program.  

Venue: Early Start, UOW.
To schedule your sessions, obtain cost details or have an initial conversation email us at 

This is offered to families who wish to access our services and require reporting for NDIS funding applications.

To have an initial conversation and obtain cost details email us at

Female toddler engaging with adults at a Early Start Denver Model workshop

Engage with your child

"My experience with ESDM and the Parent ESDM Workshop series run through Early Start at the University of Wollongong was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, an absolute godsend! 

Having your child hold her hands out for you to play ring a rosy was the most joyous experiences of my life, bringing tears to my eyes. This all started happening after 3 days.”