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Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Shana Cerny, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, TBRI Educator


autism spectrum disorder, Early Start Denver Model, occupational therapy, early intervention.

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Due to their typical developmental profiles, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit developmental delays and limited engagement in daily activities. The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an approach that focuses on early intervention and skill development for children with ASD. The aim of this 14-week capstone experience was to gain advanced clinical practice and research skills using the ESDM as a therapeutic approach in occupational therapy for young children with ASD. This project was completed at LifeScape’s Autism and Child Development Center (ACDC) in Sioux Falls, SD under the direct supervision of two occupational therapist, both trained in ESDM. The results indicate that the children experienced statistically significant improvements in all developmental domains following ESDM intervention. The results of this project further support that the ESDM is an effective therapeutic approach to promote developmental progression in young children with ASD.