Hanen: It Takes Two to Talk Certification Workshop {A Little Review}

Happy New Year! If you haven’t already checked it out, you should go check out my Best Of 2012 post from Monday :)

If you follow along on Facebook you may have seen me posting about the Hanen Workshop I attended after Christmas. Some of you were interested in hearing about it, so I thought I would post a little review about the program. Now….if you are not an SLP but rather a parent (or even other educators!) I suggest you read this as well, especially if you are a parent of a young child who is struggling with speech and language because the Hanen program was developedĀ just for you.

Just a quick note before I start….I am receiving nothing from Hanen for this little post. They have no idea I am writing it, and I paid my own tuition for the training out of my own pocket. I am writing this to share with you all about Hanen and why I think it is pretty cool. And because people asked šŸ˜‰

Hanen Certification Review

What Is Hanen?

Ā The Hanen Centre is a Canadian non profit organization that provides trainings and workshops to Speech-Language Pathologists and other professionals with the intent to provide children with quality interventions that allow them to develop strong speech, language, social, communication and literacy skills. Founded more than 35 years ago by speech-language pathologistĀ Ayala Hanen Manolson, The Hanen Centre came to existence after Manolson developed an innovative intervention program for young children with language delays. Rather than speech pathologists providing 1:1 intervention Ā to the young children (which had been the traditional way to provide interventions) she developed a program that educated and trained groups of parents on how to provide intensive intervention for their children at home in everyday routines and activities. This program would come to be the It Takes Two To TalkĀ® -The Hanen ProgramĀ® for Parents of Children with Language Delays. The Hanen Centre has gone on to develop several other programs focussing on the speech, language and literacy skills of young children with language delays, including those on the autism spectrum.

What is It Takes Two To TalkĀ®?

Ok….so this program is designed to give parents the tools they need to provide interventions for their children in their own home during everyday routines, activities, and interactions. The goal of the program is for theĀ parent to be the interventionist. This is about a 12 week course (if you do it as designed) that is taught to a small group of parents by a certified speech-language pathologist. Parents come to classes (without their children) to learn specific strategies to use with their individual child, and the SLP does at least three home visits to help guide and coach the parent on using the strategies with the child. You can read more about the parent program HERE. Oh and an important point: this program is researched based!

What is the It Takes Two to TalkĀ® Certification for SLPs?

The certification program prepares SLPs to be able to run a whole It Takes Two to TalkĀ® program from beginning to end. You learn how to work with adult learners, all the lingo and language, how to present it, and how to coach and provide feedback to parents (including how to provide video feedback). Once you complete the certification process, you are then able to provide the classes. Hanen provides you with EVERYTHING…an entire curriculum that includes a TON of video, examples on how to word things, power point slides (with embedded video examples!) as well as a copy of the parent handbook. In fact….the binder they give you is gigantic and FULL of everything you need to run a program.

What Does The Certification Workshop Involve?

The certification workshop for It Takes Two to TalkĀ® is a three day commitment. Three full days. This is one of the reasons it took me six years to get this done. Three days in a row can be hard when you are working full time (often here they are on Mon-Wed which means three days off work) or when you have young children (I was breastfeeding twice when they came into town and the thought of dragging my pump to some place with people I didn’t know didn’t thrill me).

It is a hands on and interactive workshop. You get many chances to try things out and you even get a chance to teach a small part of the program for practice. There is a powerpoint presentation with LOTS of video examples which are great. And the teaching methods used really make you think and get involved in the conversations. Our workshop had 13 of us…I think maybe a full class is 14? One person was sick I believe.

What I Love About this Workshop and the Program

Many years ago when I started with preschoolers, I found myself saying “How the hell am I going to make a difference in the way this kid communicates Ā in an hour a week???” And you tell me…HOW on earth can an hour a week of 1:1 or group therapy actually make a significant difference in a child with a moderate to severe language delay?

Just the therapy alone isn’t going to make a huge dent. A child needs more than one hour of therapy. But….more therapy isn’t the answer either. More therapy isn’t always better and it definitely isn’t cost effective. The answer is theĀ people who spend the most time with the child need to be doing the interventions. This is something I knew and believed long before I ever heard of Hanen. So I tried whenever I could to provide parent training within my therapy….either by consultations or within the sessions themselves…depending on the child and the family.

What I love the most about this program is that it is teaching me how to teach parents how to do what I do….but gives me great parent friendly language. Have you ever tried to explain to a parent how to work with their child and why?Ā ThisĀ program gives you all this language and helps you learn the best ways to coach a parent.Ā I had about 45367 “ah-ha” moments in the workshop that really opened my eyes on how to help parents understand how and why we do what we do. My goal has always been to empower parents….in fact that was the basis of the beginnings of this blog! But this workshop gave me so many tips and ideas on how to make this happen…how to be a better SLP.Ā 

And the other thing that I love most about this program…the one that makes it most valuable (to me) is thatĀ You can use the Hanen materials within your regular therapy sessions.Ā Lets be honest…the logistics of actually running a whole program, thought ideal, is not always possible. Especially at this point in time with the economy…getting funding for these programs can be tricky with budget cuts. BUT…Hanen allows you to use the materials within your sessions. Say you are working EI and you are trying to teach a parent the importance of following their child’s lead and waiting for them to communicate….there are videos you can use in your session to show them!Ā Or you are in the schools and are working with a child who is 4 and you want to show the parent an example of how to use books to expand language.Ā There is information on this as well as videos.

Does it Work?

I mentioned that this program is backed by research. When you empower parents on how to help their child, and they are able to provide quality interactions within every day moments….children make progress. A lot of progress. Check out the research that has been done on Hanen’s programsĀ HERE. My Hanen instructor shared with us that often times she has found the children whose parents go through her course rarely need therapy after the semester….except maybe for articulation…unless they have other issues going on. There is even research on its use with children with Down syndrome.

Who Should Get Certified?

I am not going to lie…I thinkĀ every SLP should take this course. But here are some people I really think should take it:

  • CFYs/New Grads: If you are straight out of school, this program will give you invaluable information on how to work with children with language delays AND how to work withĀ their parents! I wish I had taken this right out of school.
  • SLPs that work in EI should take this, HANDS DOWN, as the drive of EI is supposed to be parent education.
  • SLPs that work with preschoolers with language delays
  • SLPs that work with older children with language delays, that function at a birth-5 level.

Obviously…if you work with Middle school and High School and the kids are high functioning….this course may not be as useful for you.

What is the Cost?

The cost. Yup….it is not cheap. I paid the early bird fee and it was somewhere around $740?? Don’t quote me…I just went on their site and it looks like some coming up in the US run over $800? You’ll have to go check it out yourself.

BUT….you get almost all your continuing education units in ONE chunk of time AND…I know some of you can get your place of work to pay as well. Since I currently work for myself…I paid out my own pocket. :)

What If I Can’t Afford it?

If you can’t afford it BUT you work with little ones (or children who function low) I would at least recommend you pick up the guidebook and the DVD…they are excellent and will give you an idea of what the program is and give you great ideas for interventions. You can find them HERE. (Again, I get nothing for recommending these products).

Questions? Comments? Let me know!




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  1. says

    Great post! It was interesting to read it from a SPL side. Last spring our local SPL’s hosted It takes two to talk workshop for parents. (Which I now have the certificate for.) The parents in the group found the sessions really helpful. I have a little more of a challenge because for my daughter her speech disorder is secondary to a motor disorder. The classes gave a lot of tools to take home. Recently her speech changed so I am going to pull out the work sheets and do some refreshing. Love your blog!

    • Katie says

      Candice I am loving hearing the feedback from parents that have been through this program also! Makes me love it even more!

    • Katie says

      Carla I am sure there are some SOMEWHERE in Houston! But maybe not? I believe you can search on their site for instructors, but I have not done that yet.

    • Katie says

      You know as I was sitting in the course I was thinking that every grad student should take the course! What sucks is that you can’t get the certification until you are an official SLP but the classes I feel are invaluable for therapy in general.

  2. says

    I also love Hanen. I have been teaching It Takes Two to Talk in Tucson, AZ for three years now. It is an amazing program that parents leave feeling empowered to now only work with their children now but also in future developmental stages. I also encourage anyone that is thinking about taking this program to do so!!

    • Katie says

      Gretchen do you teach through a district or clinic? I wish all schools offered this program to the preschoolers!

      • says

        I have my own private practice, but I’ve partnered up with the clinic at the University of Arizona. Another clinician and I team teach It takes Two to Talk. We always have a hard time finding families that are willing to put the work (and money) into it, but when we do they always walk away feeling that it was worth it.

        • Keila says

          Hi Gretchen! I also live in Tucson, AZ! I completed my undergraduate studies at U of A and went on to complete my master’s at UT- Austin because they have a bilingual emphasis program. I am currently completing my CFY in a hospital outpatient rehabilitation department. I would love to hear about your practice! I recently realized how much I love working with families and my 0-3 population, and I am considering becoming certified in the Hanen program. If you would like to meet up sometime, please email me at: keilag227@gmail.com

          I look forward to hearing from you!!

          Keila G.

  3. says

    I’m certified in several of the Hanen programs. Now that I work in private practice, I no longer have the opportunity to teach Hanen programs, aside from the occasional Teacher Talk to daycare workers. But I still apply the techniques daily in therapy and in teaching parents how to stimulate their child’s language at home. I think their programs are fantastic! I’m glad to hear that they’re working their way through the States :)

  4. Aimee says

    I love your blog! I have been wanting to take a Hanen program for a few years now, but due to finances and childcare, it hasn’t happened yet. I was scared to spend that much money on a program and wasn’t sure if it was worth it. I have been using the It Takes Two To Talk book with the parents I work with in early intervention. I’ve found it easy to understand and has helped me a ton in my sessions. Thanks for your review of the program. I will definitely take this course when the time is right now that I have had some real feedback.

    • Katie says

      Aimee…you totally should take the course! The video examples are AWESOME!! And you get your own DVD of them to use in sessions/classes. You won’t be disappointed!

  5. Holly Ann says

    Great description of the It Takes Two to Talk and I loved hearing about your experience! I am and SLP as well and am certified in ITTT, More Than Words, TalkAbility and Target Word. I have been able to run all of these programs with the exception of Target Word. I love Hanen too! I love the approach and I really feel that it has made the biggest difference in the lives of families that I work with. I had my ITTT certification for a few years before I had the opportunity to run it. I really encourage anyone with the certification to try to run one because I think you learn even more by doing that. It is a much richer experience than I could have imagined and I have learned so much! Thanks for spreading the word of Hanen!

  6. Liane says

    Hi Katie! I love your description of this program! One question though… did the training session talk about cultural sensitivity at all? My area is wonderfully full of families from all different cultures and I’m concerned about investing in a program like this if it might not be universally acceptable.

  7. Mariana says

    Thanks so much for posting this. It is great to know that you can use the tools in your sessions too, and that it is worth taking the course not just getting the guidebook. I work in schools and I am responsible for our developmentally delayed Kindergarten programs so that is the main reason I wanted to take these courses.

    Incidentally, I really like your blog and I wish I had more time to read it all!

  8. Debbie says

    Thank you for sharing about the Hanen Program “It Takes Two To Talk”. Please advise who conducted the Training Workshop in Singapore? I am very keen to learn. Regards, Debbie

  9. Cate says

    Thank you for sharing! After reading about the various programs on the Hanen website, I was delighted to find your review of one of their courses. I’ve enjoyed following your blog and appreciate the in-depth information about this program.

    Out of curiosity, have you taken the More than Words training or ABC and Beyond workshop? ABC and Beyond is the one I originally looked into attending, but you have to complete one of their initial courses first. Given the expense, I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts on their other programs.

    • says

      Hi Cate. I have not taken More than Words or ABC and Beyond. I Have taken Target Word (planning a post on it soon) and it was EXCELLENT. If you work with children with autism I have heard More than Words is pretty cool.