The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), featured in the article “Intensive, Early Therapy Helps Children with Autism Improve Communication Skills” in the October issue, addresses the problems a child with autism has in paying attention to social cues—facial expressions, gestures and spoken words.

Sally J. Rogers, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, works with 17-month-old Logan in this video, entitled Patty Feet, in one-on-one play activities intended to develop a range of social skills, including fostering of responses from the child, communicating feelings and learning through imitation.

Studies have shown that ESDM, after two years of training, results in toddlers registering higher scores on cognitive tests than children not in the program. With ESDM the severity of autism’s hallmark social deficits and repetitive behaviors diminish and desirable changes occur in areas of the brain involved with social activities, such as looking at faces.

Video Source: University of California, Davis, Medical Center/YouTube