Early Start MOST

Mother and young child on floor playing with toys, looking at one anotherThe last few months have been busy ones for MAIER and the Early Start Maine program.  In late February, we launched the Early Start Maine Outreach Services through Telehealth Network (Early Start MOST). Using videoconferencing, this new telehealth program is led by MAIER Early Start Maine Consultants (ESM-C) in collaboration with Maine Child Development Services (CDS).  Currently, ten families are participating in Early Start MOST, representing seven of the nine CDS sites.

Early Start MOST supports parents and caregivers in using evidence-based strategies from the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) during their everyday routines and activities with their child. An ESM-C provides Early Start MOST services to families through videoconferencing, with parents actively participating in 12 weekly videoconferencing sessions.

During the weekly sessions, the ESM-C and parent work together to develop a shared meaning of ESDM strategies and concepts. Parents participate in activities with their child to promote engagement and social interactions and share how they use ESDM strategies during everyday activities.  The ESM-C provides participants with ongoing feedback and coaching during videoconferencing sessions.  One participating parent described her experience with Early Start MOST saying, “As a parent, you have to be willing to do the work. But it’s going to be super rewarding, and so worth it!”

Early Start MOST logo (colorful lettering)Both the Early Start MOST videoconferencing program, and the Early Start Maine in-home program are intended for families with very young children with autism who are eligible for or are currently receiving early intervention services with Maine CDS.  For more information about either of these programs, please contact Deborah Rooks-Ellis at MAIER: maineautisminstitute@maine.edu or call 207-581-2352.