The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a comprehensive, evidence-based intervention designed specifically for young autistic children, emphasizing the development of social communication and engagement from an early age. The webinar begins with a review of ESDM's foundational theories, essential elements, and core principles, focusing on its developmental and relationship-based approaches tailored to enhance social engagement. Participants will explore strategies to maximize child attention, increase social motivation, and support reciprocal engagement. Continuing, attendees will learn to arrange learning environments that optimize communication and engagement. They will also gain insights into selecting appropriate learning objectives aligned with developmental milestones and individual child profiles, recognizing their cascading effects and supporting behavioral cusps. The webinar proceeds with methods for creating interactive teaching frameworks that support child-centered activities and embed teaching opportunities within natural interactions, promoting focused and flexible approaches. Participants will learn how to actively engage young learners, building play-based, child-centered programs that honor the autistic experience. By the end of this webinar, professionals will be equipped with an understanding of ESDM and practical tools to integrate its strategies, fostering a naturalistic, engaging, and effective early intervention approach to enhance developmental outcomes for young autistic children. Note: This webinar does not offer formal training or certification in ESDM.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will review the foundations, essential elements, and teaching procedures of the Early Start Denver Model. 
  2. Participants will identify methods to arrange learning environments that promote active communication and engagement.  
  3. Participants will identify strategies to increase social attention and motivation to enhance social engagement 
  4. Participants will understand key considerations for identifying and selecting learning objectives for young autistic children.
  5. Participants will learn how to embed child goals and learning objectives to maximize learning opportunities

About the Presenter

Jamie Hughes Lika
Dr. Hughes-Lika has been providing evidence-based services for children with autism and related disorders for over 21 years. She has been board certified since 2001 and is a licensed behavior analyst in the state of Nevada. She is also an Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Certified Therapist. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Psychology and Sociology from Saint Ambrose University, in 1999. She then relocated to Denver, CO and worked for an organization providing behavior analytic services, and in 2001 she obtained her BCaBA certification. In 2004, she obtained a Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Ohio State University, studying under Professors Cooper, Heron, and Heward. Her thesis consisted of the assessment and treatment of automatically-maintained problem behavior, under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Peterson. In 2015, she earned her PhD in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from the University of Kent, in the UK. Her dissertation focused on the development of a 12-week parent-mediated naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention (NDBI) for toddlers with ASD.

Course information

  • Title: Using the ESDM to Enhance Social Engagement in Autistic Children
  • Presenter: Jamie Hughes Lika Ph.D., BCBA-D
  • Date: Tuesday, September 10th
  • Time: 9:00 AM Pacific
  • Duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes