Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Having access to effective interventions during the early years is a critical step on the intervention pathway for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) enabling developmental progress and improved quality of life (Whitehouse et al., 2020). A review of the wide array of intervention approaches to ASD yields evidence for positive effects on a range of child and family outcomes across different intervention paradigms (Whitehouse et al., 2010). One approach gaining worldwide attention and evidence is the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). The ESDM is a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Intervention (NDBI) for young children aged 12 – 60 months with ASD with demonstrated evidence for its effectiveness when delivered in one-to-one clinical settings and autism-specific group settings by ESDM-certified therapists (Rogers & Dawson, 2010; Eapen et al., 2012; Vivanti et al., 2014). Investigation into the effectiveness of this intervention approach when implemented by regular educators in mainstream early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, accessed by many young children with ASD, is needed. All three studies and the development of the professional development package contained in this thesis were based on the ESDM.

FoR codes (2020)

390411 Special education and disability



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.