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 developed 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 😉
What Is Hanen?
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 pathologist 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 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 Talk® -The Hanen Program® 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 Talk®?
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 the 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 Talk® Certification for SLPs?
The certification program prepares SLPs to be able to run a whole It Takes Two to Talk® 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 Talk® 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 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 the 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? This program gives you all this language and helps you learn the best ways to coach a parent. 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.
And the other thing that I love most about this program…the one that makes it most valuable (to me) is that You can use the Hanen materials within your regular therapy sessions. 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! 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. 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 programs 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 think 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 with 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!