About Early Start Denver Model



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About Aspire Preschool

Our Story

Aspire Preschool was created out of the necessity for preschool spaces for children with ASD where they could be well supported, and parents wouldn’t have to worry about their children being included.  In dreaming up this beautiful creation we went in search of a therapy model that could not only offer a typical preschool experience but also provide an intensive, research based, effective therapy approach.  And so… Aspire Preschool, based on the ESDM, was born!

Program Details

Aspire Preschool operates from the second week of September to the end of June, 4 days per week, Monday to Thursday.  There is the option of mornings (8:45am-11:15am) or afternoons (12:15pm-2:45pm).  Children will sign up for either the morning program or the afternoon program.  We will take the family’s input for preferred time of day; however we also aim to group children that fit well together for skill development.


There will be a 2:1 ratio (children:adult), with a maximum of 9 children in the center at one time.  The clinicians have masters degrees and have been certified in ESDM.  They have trained all staff with a superior skillset that is assessed on a regular basis to ensure high fidelity.  This ensures that your child receives the best therapy and makes the quickest gains.


Data is collected daily to ensure that rapid and continuous progress is being made.  Goals are developed based on continuous assessment and family input.  They are designed in steps, breaking down skills and teaching in increments, until mastery has been attained.  The goals will change every 12 weeks.


About The Team



Sarah Stepaniuk, MSc, RSLP (c)


Sarah Stepaniuk is one of the owners of Aspire Preschool. She is a registered Speech and Language Pathologist. Sarah’s experience includes working with children who have a variety of special needs; she has a keen interest in working with children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, health units and private agencies. She has experience on the Provincial Autism Resource Team as well as organizing social communication summer programs for young teens. Highlights of her training include SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support) workshop, Early Start Denver Model. Introductory and Advanced Workshops and attendance at multiple speech language pathology conferences. Sarah is passionate about providing best practice to clients and their families.



Shantelle Soto, M.A., B.C.B.A.


Shantelle Soto is one of the owners of Aspire Preschool as well as a co-owner of Stepping Stones Therapy.  She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has been working as a consultant for children with autism since 2014.  She recently was certified in the Early Start Denver Model approach, and she specializes in Autism and ADHD.  Her passion is helping children be successful and empowering them and the people surrounding them, to be their best.



Sandi Foster


Sandi Foster is one of the owners of Aspire Preschool Inc. and co-owner of Stepping Stones Therapy Inc. Sandi’s passion for working with children with ASD began as a Special Education Assistant in schools. That passion continued in the Queen Alexandra Autism Program, then to the creation of Stepping Stones Therapy and now Aspire Preschool Inc.

Over time Sandi has moved into the management of the financial and funding aspects associated with business.