Does Treatment Fidelity of the Early Start Denver Model Impact Skill Acquisition in Young Children with Autism?

Ashley Zitter, Hezekiah Rinn, Zofia Szapuova, Vanessa M. Avila-Pons, Kirsty L. Coulter, Aubyn C. Stahmer, Diana L. Robins, Giacomo Vivanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is increasing evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for children on the autism spectrum. However, substantial variability in response to the ESDM has been reported across participants. We examined the plausible yet untested hypothesis that variations in the fidelity level of therapists delivering the intervention contribute to variability in children’s response to the ESDM. Videotaped sessions (n = 40) of toddlers on the autism spectrum who received the ESDM from trained therapists were coded to obtain measures of therapist fidelity and children’s learning in response to the therapists’ instruction. Variations in overall fidelity, along with variations in most items included in the ESDM fidelity checklist, contributed to the children’s learning response during the sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Child learning response
  • Early intervention
  • Early Start Denver Model
  • Fidelity
  • Naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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