certified early start Denver model therapist

Early intervention

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 3.25.48 pm.png

Early Childhood Intervention ESDM, Newcastle NSW

Services & Contact

Frances is an NDIA Registered provider of Early Childhood Supports. Her primary service is the transdisciplinary intervention, Early Start Denver Model therapy. ESDM is based on the science of how children with Autism learn and is a naturalistic developmental behavioural intervention (NDBI).

Frances works closely with children, their families, educators & child's team.  Proud to be partnered with a Newcastle group of local early education & intervention services, therapy is delivered at Ripples Early Learning Centre Warabrook. As part of the partnership 'Making Waves at Ripples'.  Frances is currently working part-time providing 

  • ESDM Assessment and programming

  • 1:1 ESDM therapy, Ripples warabrook

  • Home & Early education care setting visits

  • Transition to school support

  • Parent training


Phone: 0431974480

Email: francesdolan.ot@gmail.com

Address: 23 Rosegum Rd Warabrook 2304



Connect via social media, read our blog or see video


Frances completed her Early Start Denver Model Certification in June 2017 from the University of California Davis MIND Institute with KU Children's Services Autism Specific Learning & Care Centre. 


She graduated from Newcastle University Bachelor Occupational Therapy in 2002 and has worked in Health, Private and Disability services in both clinical and managerial positions the past 15 years. Her longest serving position has been as Senior Occupational Therapist at Family & Community Services for 7 years where she was responsible for delivery of services, clinical supervision and specialist managerial supports. She has worked independently in the private sector contracting to a number of organisations and companies. She is registered as an OT with AHPRA and participates in ongoing professional development. 

Frances is currently collaborating to follow her passion. Developing sensitive & responsive relationships with children and pioneering local socially inclusive, empirically supported, family friendly early intervention services. She is keen to collaborate with like minded community members & professionals.


What is Making waves at ripples partnership? 

Newcastle Early Start Denver Model Early Childhood

Newcastle Early Start Denver Model Early Childhood

ESDM is suitable for toddlers & preschoolers 1 - 6 years old with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Global Developmental Delay. ESDM develops a child's infrastructure for social learning. Teaching skills through play and routine activities. Occupational Therapists / Certified Early Start Denver Model Therapists, Sarah Kelly - SPOTS & Frances Dolan OT deliver ESDM at Ripples. Our therapy room is open to non- enrolled and enrolled children.

The team collaborates closely as providers of early childhood intervention and care. This innovative model has created a welcoming centre with a relationship-based, developmental / behavioural approach to children's services. There is a supportive culture of inclusion and learning at our service. Our project is evolving & would love to hear from you!




The ESDM was devised in America at UC Davis MIND Institute. It is an approach where therapists are highly trained to develop sensitive & responsive relationships, and implement respectful developmental intervention with principals from ABA to teach children the skills of their typically developing peers. It  follows a manualised 4 level curriculum, and uses these techniques to facilitate play based highly engaged sessions and routines throughout the child's day. Data is periodically collected during each session across the child's individualised 18 - 25 program objectives. It provides comprehensive teaching & developmental monitoring of 

  • Expressive & Receptive Communication
  • Imitation
  • Joint Attention
  • Social Skills
  • Play  
  • Cognition
  • Fine Motor
  • Gross Motor 
  • Behaviour
  • Personal Independence

As a child's ability to learn socially improves, opportunities for daily learning increase from peers and caregivers in natural routines. Children receiving intervention will have clear evidence of their quarterly progress graphed.

data graph.png


You can read more at the MIND institute site http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mindinstitute/research/esdm/index.html


ESDM found to normalise brain activity http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/7079

How does ESDM work?https://autismqld.com.au/userfiles/files/Early%20Start%20Denver%20Model%20Research%20Paper.pdf

Cost savings associated with ESDM                                 https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170808/Early-Start-Denver-Model-for-young-children-with-autism-results-in-cost-savings.aspx

RCT study of 48 toddlers receiving ESDM  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/1/e17

Latrobe University ESDM Overview http://www.latrobe.edu.au/child/services/aselcc/early-intervention/overview-professionals

NDIS Early Intervention recommends Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions https://www.ndis.gov.au/html/sites/default/files/Early%20Intervention%20for%20Autism%20research%20report.pdf

Gains made in ESDM sustained long term  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475272/

Raising Children Web Site  http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/prt_th.html/context/903


ESDM TIME magazine top 10 Medical break throughs 2012


Parent Perceptions 'One of the Kids' - Benefits of Inclusion


Reducing maladaptive behaviour - intensive group setting



Name *