Specialist Program

In the autism-specific group program, your child will engage in play-based intervention as part of a long day care program.

Up to ten children with autism are enrolled in each specialist room, where they benefit from learning activities that support their needs and from an education team highly trained in early intervention and in supporting children with autism. The education team oversee the group curriculum (embedding children’s individual ESDM goals as part of the room curriculum) and the Allied Health team work in the rooms during key learning experiences throughout the day.

Children must be less than 4 years of age when they start in our program. A formal diagnosis of autism is not required, but our research team will assess each child to confirm eligibility (that is, that each child shows likely signs of autism).

Children are enrolled into a specialist (autism-specific) room, at our Community Children’s Centre. The Centre has been rated as ‘exceeding’ the National Quality Standard and has a strong emphasis on inclusive practice and teaching through play and daily routines.

Each child is assessed every term using the ESDM Curriculum Checklist. This is a play-based assessment carried out by two ESDM certified therapists and families are invited to attend. Each term, new goals are developed for all children, based on the ESDM Curriculum Checklist and family priorities. Each child receives between 14-16 individualized goals from all developmental domains, for example, communication, play, imitation, cognition, motor skills, personal independence and so on.

Each child’s progress is monitored through careful data collection, including:

  • All staff regularly take data after working on a child's goals, using our Data App.
    Each week, the child’s Key Worker will review the data to monitor how the child is progressing.
  • The Key Worker will monitor whether a child is consistently implementing the skill outlined in the step, inconsistently implementing the skill or having difficulties with particular skills. This information will be utilised to progress children to the next step on individual objectives (for skills consistently implemented) or to review whether changes need to be made to the step to support learning (e.g. using additional/different prompts, resources etc).
  • If a child needs some support to progress on goals, the Key Worker will refer to the ESDM Decision Tree to carefully build in extra support for the child.

  • Children receiving ESDM (G-ESDM) in naturalistic, group settings have made positive gains across cognitive, adaptive, and communicative outcomes (Vivanti et al., 2014; Vivanti & Dissanayake, 2016; Vivanti et al, 2018).
  • High-quality childcare environments that promote engagement in joint activities with peers have been found to positively impact on social and communication development (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network, 2000, 2003). The Specialist Program aims to provide autistic children with rich social and learning opportunities in a  specialist early learning and care environment, combined with group early intervention.
  • Another important rationale for the Specialist Program is that it provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for families; early intervention, specialist long day care, highly qualified educators and access to Allied Health specialists familiar with your child.

We are a registered NDIS service provider and intervention fees are payable using your child’s NDIS plan and/or private funds. Intervention fees are charged according to the current NDIS Price Guide, against the line item Capacity Building Supports for Early Childhood Interventions – Other Therapy. Intervention fees are not charged if a child is absent, however, late notice cancellation fees may apply. NDIS funding can be used to cover the intervention component of our program. Families with insufficient NDIS funding to cover three days per week may choose to pay privately for some of their child’s program. NDIS plans can also be reviewed by the NDIA if more funding is required.

2024 Specialist Program fee schedule


Description of support

Team record data on across child’s ESDM learning objectives on a mobile phone app, ASD Capture. They record if the child is responding successfully to the teaching approach or if they require extra help/assistance to achieve the ‘learning step’. Each week, the child’s key worker reviews the data across the team to understand their response and if they are consistently performing across different members of the team. We also use this opportunity to modify the teaching approach if required.


5 hours of core intervention a day

Price ($)

$345.00 per day

Enrolment 3 days a week

$1,035.00 per week

Description of support

Assess child and develop goals, monitor progress, communicate with family and external services, coordinate Allied Health input, oversee child progress in room and room curriculum.


1 hour a week

Price ($)

$193.99 and/or $86.79

Price per week


Description of support

ESDM group curriculum that incorporates each child’s individual objectives. All staff are trained on implementation of ESDM and staff are routinely audited by ESDM Trainer/Apprentice Trainers to ensure optimal program delivery.

Description of support

ESDM Certified Therapist conducts play-based assessment using the ESDM Curriculum Checklist to collaboratively identify and develop 14-16 ESDM learning objectives with family. The assessment will be conducted at La Trobe University Community Children’s Centre, Bundoora every 3 months.


5 hours per term

Price ($)

$193.99 and/or $86.79

Price per term


Description of support

Allied Health input into child’s program:

  • Specialist referrals as required and identified by family/KW
  • Program input to further progress key learning across developmental areas

Example: 1 hour per term

Price ($)

$193.99 per hour

Price per week

$193.99 per term

Please note:

Allied Health consultation and input is dependent on the clinical individual needs of each child and family and consequently the above hours/pricing information is a guide only.

Total fees
Total intervention fees per term$ 15,717.83

Per calendar year (48 weeks)

$ 80,455.96

If you are unable to access our program guide, please email vicaselcc@latrobe.edu.au.

To book

Please complete the form below and we will contact you shortly after.