Client testimonials

Hear what our clients have to say about their experience with the Early Start Denver Model at the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Autism Clinic.

Strategies to support learning, development and behaviour management.

“The ESDM training has enabled me to support educators working in regional and isolated areas with strategies to support the learning, development and behaviour management of children that have limited access to services and long waiting lists. I use the ESDM principles to guide professional conversations, provoke critical reflection and support educators to work with children with a new lens” 

Kim, Nowra, NSW
Advanced ESDM Workshop


“I have seen parents very confused by their child’s behaviour. To have some understanding of what’s going on for their child’s development: what’s going on in terms of ASD behaviours like inflexibility or rigidity, or delays in social communication; once the parent has an understanding of their child’s behaviours, then we can address what the parents need support with.

Once the child’s skills have been pinpointed, parents can then have a structured plan on what to target, and I think that’s very empowering.”

Jasmine Holland, Apprentice Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Trainer
Bachelor Education (Early Childhood), Masters in Special Education


“The ESDM has had a dramatic impact on the way we are able to support and include children with Autism in our Community Based Preschool. Educators feel empowered to support and redirect interfering behaviours using the skills and strategies learnt throughout the model and implement these in fun, caring and playful ways.  Our preschool has been successful in teaching peers and educators some of the strategies of becoming a play partner which has provided extensive opportunities to break down the barriers to inclusion around social interactions and helped the children gain a better understanding of how they can approach and support their peers in positive ways.  The ESDM have provided educators with strategies to challenge and develop children in age appropriate and play based interventions within the mainstream preschool setting and benefits all children attending the preschool” 

Danae, Director Wongawilli Preschool
Advanced ESDM Workshop

“This was the best professional development experience I have ever participated in and to be able to do this while living in rural and remote NSW by remote delivery, made it even better. The fact that (the course was spread) across 6 weeks of 3 hourly sessions enabled us to have a week in between each session to reflect on our learning and practice our new skills with children in our own workplace. I believe that this facilitated a far better learning experience for all of us and certainly removed all of the extraneous pressures that may have otherwise hampered us. Even though we were all remotely located, we still developed a strong and positive relationship with our trainer and each other and still have each other as peer mentors in our next learning phase of certification. I can’t thank ….Early Start UOW enough for this amazing offering. It has changed the way I work forever and is already benefiting the children and families in this remote part of NSW”

Charmaine, Parkes, NSW
Advanced ESDM Workshop

"The ESDM Educator workshop series has been one of our best investments in capacity building of our educators and working towards inclusive and respectful education and care. This has shifted the mindset of the educators and provided them with a research based and evidence based lens to look at their everyday program as well as working alongside children with special needs."

Kavita Bali, Pedagogical Leader, Kensington Community Children’s Co-operative
ESDM for educators and therapy assistants

“As an early childhood practitioner for over 25 years I have had many years of experience working with children with ASD. However, if I knew then as a practitioner what I know now after training in ESDM, I would have been a much more responsive and effective teacher for children with ASD. The knowledge and skills that I have learned and been able to share with educators while delivering the workshops have been very rewarding for me as I know that we are making a real difference to practice, and ultimately to the lives of the children and families at these services”

Joanne, Far south coast, NSW
ESDM for educators and therapy assistants

“The ESDM addresses an extensive number of developmental domains meaning the play therapy can be beneficial for many young children regardless of their needs and strengths.

One benefit of the using the ESDM in practice is the ease in continually collecting data and assessing the progress of the children. This is standard practice of the ESDM and is so insightful for therapists and family members to reflect on and improve practice for greater outcomes.”

Charlotte Dunn
Educator and ESDM-Certified Therapist

“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! 

I am so thankful to UOW Early Start for what you all have not only done for Florence but what you have done for my whole family. What a transformation it was for me to observe …workshop participants working with my little girl. Straight away she began to make eye contact with us, clap her hands, make choices, sit on a chair at a table and eat independently all within weeks. 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. 

I am firstly so amazed by your drive and knowledge of the ESDM and all the work you do for the early intervention of young children, especially the Parent ESDM Workshop series. Watching you coach your trainees in the ESDM workshop that I brought my little Florence to as the practice child, taught me so many skills that I took home each night and tried out. This was such a cornerstone for me to learn the basics of ESDM so I could implement them in everyday life. 

All I can say about ESDM is that it was a Godsend and a blessing to all our lives. Especially …… all the team at UOW, are the most amazing people. Just giving it all from your hearts every day.”

Danielle Parsons, Kingscliffe, NSW
ESDM for parents and carers


“My son, at 2 ½ was close to non-verbal, would only string two sentences together max, and would not understand anything that was being said to him. Through ESDM therapy, now he is able to have a conversation, is able to understand what people are saying. 

I found starting with parent coaching,  getting me to learn how to do the therapy at home…you become aware of how to include ESDM models in almost every interaction that you have during the day to encourage language and then later on, he went in for one-on-one sessions…at the Uni. I would watch from another room, and kind of pick up on the way that they were talking with him and it gave me a lot of ideas on how to help him at home as well. To actually know what you can do at home to help their language is really positive.”

Participated in ESDM Parent Coaching and One-on-One Therapy 


“I like working with ESDM because it is all about natural everyday routines connecting with children, connecting with families, learning, or ramping up the learning opportunities, through everyday routines. It’s not added homework, it’s not in a simulated setting, it’s within play-based routines: bath time, meal time, just daily living, you know? It’s about teaching families how to really build in lots and lots and lots of learning opportunities with what they are already doing.”

Jasmine Holland, Apprentice Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Trainer
Bachelor Education (Early Childhood), Masters in Special Education

“My son was diagnosed with Autism in January 2020, and had selective mutism, cognitive and developmental delay, severe language delay as well as behavioural and emotional dysregulation. To say that ESDM has changed his life is an understatement. It has changed all our lives and given my son the skills that he needs to have an equal opportunity to a future, in the most naturalistic manner. All the while giving him the opportunity to develop his own personality. That is the advantage of following a child’s motivation. I highly recommend the ESDM model for families who need the guidance, a supportive network, and techniques based on years of scientific evidence”

ESDM for parents and carers

“The ESDM program has helped us, our family, to build up goals and strategies to help (our child) to decrease his autistic symptoms and helped to develop communicative, cognitive, emotional and social skills, and helped him to learn how to play. It’s such an amazing program and a big advantage is that it is play-based. I see (him) thriving and developing, and it’s really fantastic that we can start early intervention so early and give him the best start possible in life.”

Eleonora, Parent

Australian and International Parent and Professional Testimonials

Child sitting at a table with two ESDM therapists. They are playing with playdough. How can ESDM therapy help a child to develop language and communication skills?
Early Childhood Educator smiles at camera, whilst leaning against a handrail Why an Early Childhood Educator chose to become an ESDM Certified Therapist
ESDM Trainer, Jasmine smiles at camera while sitting on couch How does the Course ‘ESDM For The Home’ help families build learning into everyday routines with their child?
ESDM Trainer Jasmine, engaging with mother and children How does ESDM therapy help parents of a child with ASD understand their behaviours and prepare for learning?
Eleonora smiles at camera How can the ESDM Program help a family give their child a great start in life?
Charlotte smiles at camera How becoming an ESDM therapist allows an Educator to work for herself and help her community
Laptop in a zoom meeting, with a coffee cup next to laptop How did the sessions help develop your understanding of the ESDM?
African American woman waving at a laptop screen Support provided during the ESDM Training for Professionals
Lev Tolkachev presenting a keynote address What can you expect from the ESDM training?
Female educator engaging with children through music Overcoming Challenges in Working with Children with ASD
Georgianna Moraitopoulou, Therapist, international attendee of ESDM Advanced Workshop The benefits of gaining training and certification in the ESDM
Early Educator sitting with Children who have their hands raised, in a relaxed setting Why did you decide to become ESDM trained?
Muslim woman in Hajib at computer The Benefits of ESDM Virtual Courses with Global Participants
ESDM Certified participant Shabnam Mohammad What impact has training in the ESDM had in your work with young children?
Parents playing with child How do Children and Parents React to The Early Start Denver Model?