The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a behavioral therapy for children with autism between the ages of 12-48 months.  It is based on the methods of applied behavior analysis (ABA).


Parents and therapists use play to build positive and fun relationships.  Through play and joint activities, the child is encouraged to boost language, social and cognitive skills.

  • Based on understanding of normal toddler learning and development
  • Focused on building positive relationships
  • Teaching occurs during natural play and everyday activities
  • Uses play to encourage interaction and communication


ESDM therapy can be used in many settings, including at home, at a clinic, or in schoool.  Therapy is provided in both group settings and one-on-one.


It has been found to be effective for children with a wide range of learning styles and abilities.  ESDM can help children make progress in their social skills, language skills, and cognitive skills.  Children who have significant learning challenges can benefit just as much as those without learning challenges.


Parent involvement is a key part of the ESDM program.  Therapist should explain and model the strategies they use so that families can practice them at home.


You can find more information on ESDM here.



Upcoming Events

Regulation... from the inside out

Presented by Sharron Donnelly M.S., OTR/L and Jennie Ehleringer M. Ed,CYT

Target Audience: Educators, Parents & Caregivers 

When: April 27, 2024 from 9am to Noon

Where: Irvington Club Ballroom, Portland, OR

Cost: $75

Click here to review course description and to register.

Parent Support Groups

APT partners with Swindell's Resource Center to provide Sensory Seminars PDX once a month at Providence. For more info go to:  to view next event.  Please be sure to register online!

Therapeutic Listening - Listening With the Whole Body

Presented by Sharron Donnelly M.S., OTR/L T

Target Audience: Therapists in schools, hospitals, and private clinics.

When: May 31-June 1,2024

Where: APT Portland Clinic

Cost: Early Bird pricing $375

Click here to review course description and to register.

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