Parents are the most important people in a child’s life. One of the greatest gifts parents give their children is helping them learn to communicate so they can connect with the world.

The ability to communicate and use language, whether through gesture, sign or spoken words, is the most important skill a child will learn. As a parent, how you interact and communicate with your child is the key to helping her/him develop the best possible language and early literacy skills.

Children learn to talk – not by being taught – but by being involved in enjoyable, extended interactions with their parents and caregivers. In other words, they learn to communicate by communicating. They watch and listen to others. They engage with the things and people in their lives and try to communicate about them. The responses they get when they communicate are what help them learn. Positive, interested responses, which build on what they have communicated, motivate them to communicate again.

Positive responses support the child in three ways. They:

tell the child “I am interested in what you have to say”, which motivates him to continue to communicate, increasing opportunities to practice and learn;

provide models of how language is used by adults, which helps him develop more advanced language skills; and

provide information about the world, which expands the child’s knowledge and understanding, giving him more to communicate about

Hanen Helps Parents of Young Children
Whether you are a parent of a child with an identified or suspected language delay or of a typically developing child, The Hanen Centre has resources and programs that can help you promote your child’s language and early literacy development:

i) Hanen Resources for all parents
Hanen resources include user-friendly books, videos and other learning materials to guide families along the way. These resources are used by parents in a Hanen Program, but they are also available to any parent who wants information on how to use the Hanen approach in their daily interactions with their children.

ii) Hanen Programs for parents of children with language delays
Thousands of parents of children with language delays around the world have attended Hanen Programs, offered only by speech-language pathologists/therapists, who have been trained and certified by attending a Hanen workshop.

Hanen Programs are research-based and designed for small groups of parents. They take a practical approach and help parents learn how to foster their child’s language development during everyday routines and activities. The programs are supported by beautifully illustrated guidebooks and inspiring videotapes that bring Hanen strategies to life.

For more information about The Hanen Centre you can visit their website at hanen.org.