Felton Early Autism Program (FEAP)

An inclusive early intervention program for infants and toddlers with autism.

Felton Early Autism Program (FEAP) brings together an evidence-based intervention model specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum, and the child’s natural learning environment. FEAP is the first inclusive center-based program in San Francisco with a curriculum designed specifically for children with autism. 

What is Autism?

Autism is known by several names; two common names include “autism spectrum disorder” and simply “autism.” Autism refers to a group of complex neurodevelopmental (brain) disorders which can be easily diagnosed early in a child’s development–commonly before age three. Characteristics of the condition, in varying degrees include but are not limited to impaired or limited verbal and non-verbal communication, restricted and repetitive behavior, and difficulties with social interaction. As with many conditions, professionals suspect causes may include both genetic and environmental factors. Studies show that autism is 4 to 5 times more common in boys than in girls. Statistics show that 1 in 68 children live with autism. It is estimated that over 3 million individuals live with autism–some of which know of their condition and some who do not know but most likely suspect.

Felton Family Developmental Center

Who Are We?

Felton Institute’s Family Developmental Center (FDC) is San Francisco’s licensed & largest subsidized early care and education program serving children from birth to six years old. For over forty-five years, it has been the only program in San Francisco to serve infants and toddlers who have physical or developmental challenges, within an inclusive program model.

What makes our program unique?

  • Access to high-quality intervention program for children with autism
  • Targeted and individualized intervention delivered within an inclusive early care and education setting, with typically developing peers
  • Access to community-based resources and supports
  • Access to an on-site multidisciplinary Early Intervention team
  • Access to staff with formal training in early childhood education and certification in the Early Start Denver Model

The Early Start Denver Model is the only comprehensive early intervention model that has been validated in a randomized clinical trial for use with children with autism as young as 18 months of age. It’s effective for children with autism across a wide range of learning styles and abilities.

For more information, click here to learn more about the ESDM.


Children with autism are enrolled in general early childhood classrooms along with their typically developing peers. Specialized intervention is embedded within the naturally-occurring routines and activities of the classroom. 


All children in FEAP receive Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) intervention, one of the most rigorously evaluated and effective programs available in the United States for young children with autism.

Family-Centered & Community-Based

Although traditionally offered in the home, FEAP allows children with autism to receive ESDM intervention in a community-based setting, thereby allowing families to have access to other supports and resources in the community, including parent support groups and parenting workshops, parent advocacy programs, referral services, on-site and off-site mental health services, Felton’s FDC’s weekly Farmers Market, and the Child Care Food Program (CACFP).


Our on-site Early Intervention team consists of:

  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Early Interventionists
  • Early Childhood Special Educators
  • Speech and Language Pathologists
  • Pediatric Registered Nurse
  • Mental Health Consultant


Families attending the program may also receive:

  • 1:1 individualized instruction
  • Home visits
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Feeding therapy
  • Daily nurse monitoring and care
  • Mental health consultations
  • Referrals to other community-based programs

Program Details

FEAP serves children birth to 3 who have autism or exhibit autistic-like behaviors. Children attend the program 5 days a week, for 3 hours each day, and receive intervention from staff that are trained and/or certified in Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) under a 1:2 staff-to-child ratio.

FEAP provides the benefits of delivering treatment within an enriched educational environment in which children with autism and typically developing children play and learn together. All teaching staff and families receive ongoing consultation and training from FDC’s on-site multidisciplinary Early Intervention team. Children are referred directly by Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC).

What role does Felton play in helping families of children with autism?

Felton aims to assist families who suspect their child may have autism and to improve the lives of children already diagnosed by autism. We are working to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people living with autism. As an advocate for appropriate services for those within the autism spectrum, Felton helps to provide the latest information regarding diagnosis, treatment, education and research. 


Felton Early Autism Program (FEAP)
Located in Felton Institute’s Family Developmental Center (FDC)
Address: 2730 Bryant Street, 1st floor, San Francisco CA 94110
Main Office Phone: (415) 282-1090 ext. 104
Fax: (415) 282-1735
Program Email: feap@felton.org