by Zara Kan, Speech-language Pathologist, Eliott’s Corner
In November 2013, ten speech-language pathologists attended training in Shanghai to become certified in the evidence-based “It Takes Two to Talk®” Hanen program. It was attended by five local Shanghai therapists from Olivia’s Place and two Beijing therapists from Eliott’s Corner. Other therapists flew from Hong Kong and Taiwan to attend the three-day workshop instructed by the Hanen-certified instructor, Jo Bristow.
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. Rather than speech pathologists providing 1:1 intervention to young children (which has been the traditional way to provide interventions) the program strives to educate and train groups of parents on how to provide intensive intervention for their children at home in everyday routines and activities.
What is It Takes Two To Talk®?
Jo Brixton, Hanen Instructor, presents It Takes Two to Talk in Shanghai
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. This is about an eight 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.
What I Love About this Workshop and the Program
- It really helps to answer the question, “how am I going to make a difference in the way this child communicates when I only see them once or twice a week?”
The answer is, the people who spend the most time with the child need to be doing the intervention. This program taught me how to teach parents how to do what I do in straight forward parent friendly language. It empowers parents and gave me lots of great tips and ideas on how to make this happen.
- All of the materials are provided for the speech-language pathologist. There are slides, parent workbooks, research summaries, and a file containing everything you need to lead the parent programs yourself with detailed instructions and tips for each session.
- Hanen allows you to use their materials within your regular sessions. The program provides great videos and handouts which can illustrate exactly the strategies and skills you are teaching a parent so you can choose relevant information and videos to illustrate different therapy techniques for a variety of needs, not only those with language difficulties.
- The training was a very hands on and interactive workshop. We were offered many chances to try things out and also got the chance to teach a small part of the program for practice with support from Jo, the instructor. It brought the course to life and there were many suggestions on how to adapt it to different scenarios and parent responses.
Overall, it was a really inspiring course which changed my way of thinking and really made me re-evaluate why I do what I do with parents. I will definitely encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s speech and language development, both in therapy sessions and at home using these strategies.