Elizabeth is a certified ESDM therapist and the first Certified ESDM Trainer in Australia. With the support of KU and the MIND Institute, she has developed and managed the ESDM Programs for KU Childrens Services in Sydney Australia including ESDM Group Programs; ESDM Clinics and P-ESDM parent training programs. 

Elizabeth trains and provides ongoing supervision to ESDM therapists and programs. Her clinical experience includes assessing children with ASD; developing and supervising Group ESDM intervention programs; ESDM Clinics and ESDM Parent Training. She is also an experienced presenter, training large groups of professionals in a range of child development, behaviour analysis and intervention topics. Elizabeth has been working with children with autism and their families for many years. She is also on staff at the University of NSW in the Faculty of Medicine - School of Psychiatry.

Elizabeth will present with Prof Valsamma Eapen on Day 2 in Symposium 5 - Transforming Beginnings.

Mind the Gap:  A Framework for Disseminating an Early Intervention Program (ESDM) for Pre-School children with Autism.

Background: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a major public health concern given its early onset, lifelong persistence, and significant impairment. The value of early intervention is widely recognized with studies showing better outcomes with earlier treatment. However, the availability and accessibility of empirically evaluated treatment programs are limited. One such model available for children aged less than 30 months is the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). It is an intensive, manualised, comprehensive intervention for children aged 12-60 months that integrates Applied Behaviour Analysis into a developmental and relationship-based approach. With a reported prevalence of more than 1% and the evidence base suggesting early identification and intervention for better outcomes, costly and resource intensive clinic based interventions are unsustainable. Given the brain plasticity in the first years of life, early intervention offers the best potential and consequently evidence based intervention should not be restricted to exclusive settings, but available to all children with ASD across Australia, regardless of their location and socioeconomic background, via flexible service delivery modes. Community dissemination of the ESDM, using a multi-faceted approach might offer a sustainable solution with significant clinical and economic benefits in resource constrained environments.

Program description: The KU Marcia Burgess ASELCC, in partnership with UNSW and Liverpool Health Service was established in 2009 under the Helping Children with Autism package and has been delivering ESDM successfully for over four years. Grounded on the evidence generated through our research demonstrating its effectiveness in the Group setting and in clinic settings, a far reaching sustainable dissemination model has been developed. This model covering urban and remote, as well as autism-specific and mainstream settings along with the framework for dissemination will be discussed.

Conclusion: This model offers the potential to transform beginnings for many more children with ASD nationally and internationally.

Also presenting in this Symposium:
Prof Katrina Williams
Prof Deb Keen