Autism Specific Services

KU has a range of support services specifically targeted to supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.

Early Start Denver Model

KU is pioneering the use of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) in NSW together with our research partners, the University of New South Wales and South West Area Health Services.

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence-based intervention specifically developed for children with autism aged between 12 – 60 months. It is a play-based intervention that fuses behavioural and developmental principles into an integrated approach.

The Model is a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Intervention, and as such can be implemented across multiple settings, including the Specialist Child Care programs: ESDM Clinics and Preschool programs, if delivered by Certified ESDM therapists. It can also be delivered in the family home, by the child’s parents, simply within daily routines and play.

Our KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC) has implemented a variety of ESDM Programs across these multiple settings. KU has opened up ESDM Clinics in Liverpool, Penrith and Hazelbrook and is currently adapting the ESDM to three of KU’s Mainstream Preschools in Cobbitty, Airds and Macquarie Fields.

KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre

KU Marcia Burgess ASELCC provides an evidence-based intervention (The Early Start Denver Model) for children with a diagnosis of autism. The centre is funded by the Federal Government to deliver autism-specific education and care to 20 children a day, up to 5 years of age, in a long day care setting. Our centre is one of 6 ASELCCs across Australia and the only one in NSW. Learn more about KU Marcia Burgess here.

Autism Specific Group Intervention

KU Starting Points – ESDM group
Friday, 9:30am – 11:30am
14 Waterhouse Place, Airds 2560 (in the grounds of KU Briar Cottage Preschool)
Contact ku.startingpointsmacarthur@ku.com.au for further information.

The ESDM Clinics in Liverpool, Penrith & Hazelbrook

Each of the ESDM Clinics provide the ESDM intervention as an intensive 1:1 option for families who are unable to access the ASELCC Group Program. The ESDM aims to bring the child back into the social loop, reduce the symptoms of autism and fill in the learning gaps that have accumulated over time. It is a Manualised intervention with a comprehensive curriculum checklist to target all developmental areas, with a particular focus on communication, cognition and social interaction skills. All ESDM Therapists who deliver 1:1 intervention at these Clinics have completed the Certification level of training in the ESDM. They offer an ESDM Curriculum Assessment for each child, which is used to inform the child’s comprehensive, quarterly program. This program is then implemented in an individualised therapy session, where the parents can observe the therapist working with their child and learn the strategies to help their own child at home. Each Therapist can also provide coaching to parents in the ESDM model, if this is the parent’s preference. Parents can choose how many hours each week they would like to access these clinics and use their HCWA or NDIS funding to do so.

Supported Inclusion

Every child at the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care centre spends an hour each day with typically developing peers from the co-located KU Mainstream Preschool and has the opportunity to spend part of their week in a mainstream preschool or long day care centre within their local community, where additional support is provided. This enables the children to engage in daily supported integration with typically developing peers and provides the opportunity for children to generalise their skills across settings. It also encourages relationships with children and families from centres with local communities.

ESDM Training

Our NSW KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre has extensive experience in providing ESDM training. For the past five years, the service's certified ESDM trainer provides Advanced ESDM Workshops on a monthly basis, actively supporting parents and professionals to learn and use this evidenced based intervention. This training program attracts professionals from across Australia and countries across the world. Professionals participating in the training program can also be supervised to achieve a level of Certification as an ESDM Therapist, by our own Certified ESDM Trainer.

The ESDM Advanced Training also gives our staff the tools to engage and teach young children with autism, within the daily program. Each family at the centres are assigned a Key Worker, who is a Certified ESDM Therapist and coordinates an individual and comprehensive program for each child, ensuring a consistent and predictable approach from all staff. Daily data is collected on each child’s progress towards the achievement of their individual goals and a comprehensive program review is completed quarterly.

Our Certified Therapists also provide a para-professional level of training to Child Care Educators and other adults who cannot go through the Certification process. This training is called: ‘One of the Kids’ and has been designed specifically to build the capacity of all mainstream service staff who are including children with Autism in their services.