Key principles of ESDM: The Joint Activity Routine
One of the key features of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for autism therapy is learning through play and everyday routines.
Joint activity routines or “JARs” are used as the core learning tool in the ESDM model of autism therapy, which Soar emphasizes.
What are Joint Activity Routines?
JARs are activities involving two or more people, where shared engagement, communication, and play are the primary focus.
The therapist and child build the activity together through “shared control” where the adult and child take turns leading the activity. This is like how a parent and child might interact during everyday life.
Note: This does not mean that the child is always “in charge” of every interaction and activity. The therapist and child share control of activity selection, pace, style, and variations.
Learning opportunities are embedded within the JAR, preserving child motivation while teaching skills effectively. These embedded learning opportunities can create additional naturally occurring learning opportunities/activities throughout the day.