Information on the Hanen program,  Autism and Aspergers syndreome - common Autism Spectrum Disorders


The Hanen program focuses on teaching parents to help their child communicate and connect with the world. It uses a variety of interventions and is one of the most widely used parent training programs. It was developed by the Hanen Centre, a government-funded agency in Canada that trains caregivers in communication development for children from birth to six years of age.

Parents can take advantage of everyday opportunities to develop their child's language skills in an enjoyable way. Parents meet with a Hanen-certified speech-language pathologist on both a group and individual basis, often using video taped interactions with the child and parents to see how the program is working.


Programs available

More than words

This program is developed for parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents learn how to:

• Establish predictable routines to help their child develop communication skills

• How Autism Spectrum Disorders affect behavior and managing behaviors

• Use printed words and pictures to develop their child's comprehension

• Develop play skills in a way that promotes language learning

• Help their child interact positively with other children.


It takes two to talk

This is a program for parents whose children have language delays and are not yet communicating or are communicating non-verbally. It is also appropriate for parents when their children are able to use single words or two or three words together. The program involves small group sessions each week with individual consultations as well. Parents learn how to:

• Observe, wait, and listen in communicating with their child

• Improve the child's comprehension and expression

• Encourage their child to initiate interactions and respond appropriately

• Use everyday opportunities to develop social skills

• Use activities, toys, books and music to develop communication skills.


Target word

This program is designed for parents who have children formally identified as late talkers. A trained therapist helps parents select ten target words or phrases for their child and learn how to create opportunities for their child to hear and use these target words.


interventions used in the hanen program

The program uses a combination of interventions:

Developmental Social-Pragmatic model

Applied Behavior Analysis

Naturalistic teaching.


What does the research say about THE HANEN PROGRAM?

One research project looked at 51 children with Autism whose parents went through the More Than Words program. It found that parents were able to learn the strategies involved and that the children developed a larger vocabulary compared to a control group (McConachie, Randle, Hammal, and Le Couteur 2005). While encouraging, the researchers noted that further studies were required using other treatment centers, comparisons made with other Autism intervention programs, and a randomized design to further qualify the Hanen program as an evidence-based treatment.


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The Hanen program focuses on teaching parents to help their child communicate and connect with others and the wider world despite an Autism Spectrum Disorder