Hanen strategies for speech therapy

Hanen strategies for speech therapy


This blog is about what are Hanen strategies for speech therapy? It contains information for both parents and therapists.

Communication is vital to all living beings. It can occur between a child and mother, two friends, or even animals. Communication uses both words and gestures. Social interaction forms the base of our society. Children learn to talk by observing their parents. But what happens when this is not enough? Kids develop speech and language delays. This affects their social interaction.

Parents are often the first model for their kids. But, it can happen, that child is not achieving his/her milestones. In this case,  parents feel that they are not prepared to help their struggling kids.

Hanen offers these programs:

  1. It Takes Two to Talk – The Hanen Program for Parents of Children with Language Delays.
  2. Target Word – The Hanen Program for Parents of Children who are Late Talkers.
  3. More Than Words – The Hanen Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Difficulties.
  4. TalkAbility – The Hanen Program for Parents of Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum.
  5. The Hanen I’m Ready! Program for Building Early Literacy in the Home. 

What are these programs based on?

  • These programs apply techniques to empower parents. Promote natural conversation. Teach language in a natural context. Equip them to do this repetitively. Using only routine and daily activities.
  • Some of these programs are based on the social interaction theory of language development. According to this theory, language develops due to social interactions. There is a desire to communicate with the outside world. Parent and child adjust their language. This helps them understand each other and communicate. For example, a parent may use smaller sentences. The child may start using words to communicate desire.
  • Using daily activities promotes the language. Instead of a clinician-led or fixed set of activities. Open-ended play and routine activities are used.
  • It also focuses on skills required to acquire language. These are joint attention, turn-taking, and pointing. In addition to this, imitation, response to the environment, and following simple commands.
  • Hanen teaches parents various strategies. Such as reducing the length of utterance and imitation. In addition, expansion and focused repetition of target vocabulary.
  • Goal making process involves parents. What words should the child learn first? What environment will facilitate this? Parents decide this.
  • The Clinician will listen carefully. They will also help in selecting realistic goals. How to achieve them.
  • Follow the child’s lead. Use natural consequences. Train the parents is the motto.
  • Some programs are also based on behavioral theory. It helps parents add structure and predictability to their routine. This makes it easier for the child to interact.

Reason for development of Hanen program

During traditional therapy, parents are asked to wait outside. They are asked to observe the session. Post the session; they are given a summary. Some activities to carry out at home. This is helpful but parents are unable to carry it out with precision. They may feel incomplete. Parents have a lot of questions. They need to wait to ask till the next session.

In traditional therapy, it is more of a therapist than the parent. Parents are given some directions.

It is also provided mainly in the clinical setup. This makes it difficult for generalization and maintenance. Therapy sessions have variable frequency and duration. Children meet their therapist for a limited time duration. Usually thrice or twice a week.

Hanen Program takes care of these side effects. Parents become a part of the assessment, goal writing, and treatment process. They take up the first role in a child’s language development. Parents become more confident in helping their children. As they become the key language facilitator in the child’s life. This helps in carryover from the therapy setting to everyday life easier.


  1. Hanen program is for various groups of disorders. Delayed speech, syndromes, autism, etc.
  2. It empowers parents. They can carry out activities at home easily. A variety of examples and videos are used. Activities are broken down based on the child’s level.
  3. It is more of family and less of the therapist as compared to traditional therapy. Communication is inserted into the family’s daily activities instead of being dedicated to ONLY “speech therapy session time”. It is done in a fun way.
  4. Takes bilingualism into account and is evidence-based.
  5. Gives opportunities to parents to support and meet other parents.

What will you learn?

  1. You will learn to identify what motivates your child to learn.
  2. How to use routine to facilitate language.
  3. Ways to interact for a longer time.
  4. How to create communication needs.
  5. Strategies to talk, using pictures and books.
  6. Recognize your child’s level of communication and ways to talk so that he/she understands you.

Hanen strategies for speech therapy

  • Remember to be face to face with your child while playing. This will help your child to grasp the mouth movements associated with a sound. It will increase your connection.
  • Observing the child’s interest and taking up those activities. Some kids may like water play and some may not.
  • Waiting and listening are very important. We generally keep talking and forget to let the child use his/her language. Using O.W.L
  • Use these with the child’s stage of development. For example, can your child request, or is he communicating with himself or pointing, etc.
  • Use R.O.C.K – Repeating what you say helps them grasp language faster. Create opportunities for your child to speak. Cue your child to take his turn. Keeping it fun is very important. Keep this going daily.
  • Extend the topic by – talking about the future for example – yes papa will be back. By talking about feelings – oh you are sad. By Informing – we will go out later. Pretending and explaining – ohh the fishy is hurt, let’s take it to the doctor. The doctor will give medicine.
  • Allow your child to lead. Adapt to share the moment. Add new experiences and words.
  • While speaking say your sentences slowly. Stress on target words. Keep language visual.

To conclude, Hanen is made for parent training. It helps them become primary language teachers. This program has combined the current research in the field. With help of this, it has created practical easy-to-use strategies for parents. It is structured and practical. it may be done any time – bath time, snack time. Making language a fun and natural part of a child’s life.

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