Early Intervention for Developmental Delays Should Start as Soon as Possible

Even before a formal diagnosis has been made, very young children can benefit from targeted, play based intervention that focuses on developing engagement, interaction, language and communication.

In addition, well researched early intervention approaches can also lead to improvements for children that are showing early signs of/ have an early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

A consistent finding in all research studies looking at early intervention is that different children with developmental challenges and/ or autism respond in different ways to any given treatment or intervention program. Therefore, it is important to note that there is no single program that will suit all children and their families. However, there is substantial evidence to suggest that there are significant short and long term benefits from early, intensive, family-based treatment programs.

At Blue Sky we have developed our own model called Play2Talk that combines the well researched strategies of Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT) and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) , alongside DIR Floortime. These models currently have the best evidence base for supporting toddlers with autism, speech delays and other developmental challenges. Based on the principles of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Intervention (NDBI) Play2Talk creates a naturalistic, play based and child led approach that uses the child’s interests and motivation (rather than external rewards) to support the development of communication, interaction and play skills. In particular, NDBI models are viewed as the best validated approaches for developing language and social skills for young children with an autism diagnosis. Research has shown that when starting PRT or ESDM before 3.5 years of age, 95 percent of children will develop functional speech.

PRT, ESDM and DIR Floortime also have a huge impact on brain development in the early years. Recently studies using Functional MRIs  have shown exciting changes in brain functioning in young children with, or at risk for, autism spectrum conditions after starting these therapy programmes.


We work using a child centred and child specific approach, where children’s initiation and choice are key and all our therapy and teaching is undertaken through play based activities. Most of all children have fun in their therapy sessions and having fun makes it so much easier to learn!

Alongside PRT, ESDM and DIR, our staff are also trained in a range of other approaches, including other behavioural  models (such as ABA/VB (DTT) and social skills approaches such as the PEERS social skills programme (UCLA Semmell Institute) and REPLAYS (Levine and Chedd). This means we can draw on other models as necessary in order to provide a truly individualised approach.

As with all NDBI models, our therapy is child led, shared control between adult and child and play based  with a focus on social development, engagement and two way interaction.

Parents are partners in their child’s therapy with us and we believe strongly in empowering parents to better understand their child’s strengths and challenges through our online coaching service so that they can use evidence based, fun, play based therapy within everyday interactions with their child at home.