Our team

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Program Manager and ESDM Certified Trainer
Early Start, University of Wollongong

Elizabeth is dedicated to educating and supporting children, families and professionals in developing socially inclusive early childhood settings. Specialising in how child development is impacted by neurodevelopmental disorders, she is a passionate advocate for building workforce capacity in staff working with children challenged by developmental delays, challenging behaviours and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Elizabeth is an Australian-based ESDM Certified Trainer.  Her work providing training and support to a global audience has resulted in the prestigious approval by Emeritus Professors Sally Rogers and Geraldine Dawson to acknowledge Early Start, UOW as an official ESDM Training site. Elizabeth has completed her PhD studies in Autism Intervention and published papers in peer reviewed journals

Engagement team member Elizabeth Aylward

Jo Grimmond

Certified ESDM Therapist

Jo’s career in the early childhood education and care sector spans almost 30 years and includes working as an Early Childhood Teacher and Centre Director, lecturing in the Early Years degree at UOW, and delivering professional learning programs. She is a certified ESDM therapist who brings essential skills and experience to the ESDM program at Early Start, delivering the ESDM for the Team’ to support and build capacity to effectively embed the ESDM into the centre environment. With a great passion for early childhood mathematics, Jo’s current PhD research focus is the development of a numeracy assessment tool for educators to use with children in ECEC settings. She is a strong advocate for play-based learning and intentional pedagogy and practice.

Netti Heslewood

ESDM Therapist
ESDM Parent Coach

Netti brings a wealth of teaching experience and specialisation in Autism intervention to Early Start at The University of Wollongong. Trained as an Early Childhood Teacher and experienced in Teacher and Director roles, She has also worked in a range of Autism services. Netti became Certified as an ESDM Therapist 10 years ago and is also a Certified ESDM Parent Coach. She currently delivers Parent ESDM coaching and mentoring to parents and therapists within our ESDM Program.

ESDM therapist Netti Heslewood

Jasmine Holland

Apprentice ESDM Trainer
Bachelor Education (Early Childhood), Masters in Special Education 

Jasmine has 20 years’ experience working across a variety of roles in the early childhood sector, including Early Childhood Teacher, Director, Special Education Consultant and ESDM Therapist. With a specific interest in teaching children with additional needs, Jasmine focuses on early intervention and supporting the inclusion of children across all natural settings. She has established ESDM clinics and programs for young children with Autism, while also offering support to parents and educators. Jasmine joins Early Start as the Apprentice Trainer, coaching and mentoring professionals and parents in the ESDM. 

Jasmin Holland standing in front of a pick abstract painting

Margarita Shchegoleva

Master of Teaching
Certified ESDM Therapist and Early Childhood Teacher

Margarita has over 5 years’ experience in as an early years educator. She has channelled her passion for Autism Studies towards a career in early intervention, and is now a Certified ESDM Therapist. As a therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), she has experience working with toddlers and their parents, and has implemented naturalistic developmental behaviour interventions within their family home environments. Margarita is able to provide ESDM therapy and training in both English and Russian.

Margarita Shchegoleva standing in front of green hedge

Caroline Jones

Executive Assistant

Caroline coordinates the Early Start Denver Model(ESDM) workshop series and is an Executive Assistant to senior management at Early Start.  This unique combination brings powerful insight and high-level admin support to the dynamic ESDM team.  Efficient and approachable, Caroline is always happy to answer any queries regarding our ESDM workshops.  

Caroline Jones standing in front of hedge