Our Thought Leaders
The Hanen Centre is fortunate to have the following Program Directors leading the way in each of their programs:
Elaine Weitzman, M. Ed, S-LP
Executive Director, The Hanen Centre
Adjunct Professor, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto
Elaine Weitzman has been Executive Director of The Hanen Centre since 1992. She is the co-author of the Hanen guidebooks It Takes Two to Talk: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Language Delays (Pepper & Weitzman, 2004), Learning Language and Loving It (Weitzman & Greenberg, 2002) and ABC and Beyond™: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. Her research on parent and teacher training in collaboration with Dr. Luigi Girolametto, Professor at the University of Toronto, has been widely published. Ms. Weitzman has an appointment as Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Speech-language Pathology.
Elaine received her speech pathology degree in South Africa and her Master of Education degree at York University in Toronto, Canada. In the mid-1970s, when working at a community hospital in Toronto, she experienced immense frustration at the limited progress made by children to whom she provided speech therapy in her office twice a week (the parents usually sat in the waiting room and came in for the last five minutes to get their “homework”).
Her epiphany came when a desperate mother of a 2-year old exclaimed, “This isn’t working at all!” – and she was right.
Around this time, Elaine heard about a Hanen Workshop being offered in Montreal and travelled there to get her certification training in 1978. She then began offering Hanen Programs to the parents of young children with language delays and saw an enormous difference in the progress made by the children and in the wellbeing of the family.
In 1983, Elaine went to work at The Hanen Centre, where she has remained ever since. She provided It Takes Two to Talk Programs for a number of years, and in 1988, she began to develop the Learning Language and Loving It Program and resources for early childhood educators, which culminated in the first Learning Language and Loving It Workshop for Hanen SLPs in 1992.
As she oversees the research, development and outreach at The Hanen Centre, Elaine sees how much has been and can still be achieved by giving the important people in a young child’s life the tools they need to help that child communicate effectively.
Program Director, Target Word® – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Late Talkers
Resource Coordinator for Hanen Training – Ontario's Preschool Speech and Language Program
As Program Director (and co-creator) of Target Word, Cindy Earle provides overall leadership and direction to the program, coordinates the development of materials and resources, and supports speech-language pathologists who lead Target Word Programs for parents.
Since 1998, she has also overseen a province-wide Hanen project as Resource Coordinator for Hanen Training in Ontario, Canada. This position involves supporting speech-language pathologists in their Hanen-related clinical work with families of young children with communication delays.
Cindy graduated with her Bachelor of Science at the University of South Dakota and a Master of Arts Degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She took her initial Hanen training in 1979. This experience not only changed the way she felt about working with families of young children, but it also improved her own interactions with children during therapy.
Cindy did her final clinical practicum at Chedoke Child and Family Centre in Hamilton, Ontario (now part of Hamilton Health Sciences) and was then hired on as a clinician in the Outpatient Department. After offering her first It Takes Two to Talk Program, she knew she wanted to be more involved with The Hanen Centre, and in 1988, she became an It Takes Two to Talk Instructor, leading workshops for SLPs around the world. She also became an Instructor for Learning Language and Loving It in 1992.
As the need for a program for parents of children who were late talkers emerged, Cindy teamed up with colleague Lauren Lowry to develop and refine this program and to then offer the first Target Word Workshop for speech-language pathologists in 2000.
Director of Early Childhood Education Services
In her role as Program Director, Janice Greenberg introduces exciting innovations to the Learning Language and Loving It Program, including flexible options for program delivery, development of Teacher Talk training, extension of the trainer model to include early childhood education consultants and development of new resources, such as program posters and Teacher Talk workbooks. She also collaborates on research on teacher training with Elaine Weitzman and Luigi Girolametto, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.
Janice received her degree in speech pathology from the University of Toronto in 1978. Her connection with The Hanen Centre began in 1981, when she attended an It Takes Two to Talk Workshop and began offering It Takes Two to Talk Programs at what was then called the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre (currently known as Bloorview Kids Rehab). She then became involved in writing one of the first drafts of the It Takes Two to Talk guidebook and over the next ten years she instructed It Takes Two to Talk Workshops for speech-language pathologists.
In the early 90’s, Janice took a hiatus from Hanen to pursue broader interests in the areas of family support and education. She also trained other professionals to provide responsive, collaborative family-centred services.
In 1998, Janice returned part-time to The Hanen Centre to provide the Learning Language and Loving It Program to child care providers in Toronto. At the same time, she ran a private practice and consulted to a local integrated preschool, where she offered It Takes Two to Talk to the parents and Learning Language and Loving It to the early childhood educators. Janice still recalls the opportunity to train the children’s parents and teachers as one of the most powerful interventions she has been involved in.
In 2000, Janice was offered the position of Program Director for Learning Language and Loving It. One of her first big tasks was to co-author the second edition of the Learning Language and Loving It guidebook (Weitzman & Greenberg, 2002) and revise all the Learning Language and Loving It materials that had been developed by Elaine Weitzman in 1992.
Director of Autism Services
As Program Director for Autism Services, Lisa Drake’s role is to provide leadership and overall direction for both programs for parents of children on the autism spectrum: More Than Words® and TalkAbility™. She also acts as a source of guidance and support for Hanen certified speech-language pathologists on how to apply these programs and their underlying approach to their clinical work and for Hanen Instructors who deliver More Than Words® and TalkAbility™ workshops. Lisa received her degree in speech pathology from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada in 2003. Her exposure to Hanen began early in her career as an SLP – she was a part of a cohort of students who took a Hanen certification workshop as a part of their graduate studies and immediately developed a passion for the Hanen approach. She has held a variety of clinical positions both in Canada and the United States and has extensive experience with preschool children with a wide array of communication disorders, including those who use assistive devices. She is an experienced Hanen group leader and has led many More Than Words® Programs in both Canada and the United States. Lisa joined the team at The Hanen Centre in 2013, as the Assistant Program Director for Autism Services. In 2014, she took on the role of Program Director.
Hanen speech-language pathologist
Lauren Lowry is a Hanen staff speech-language pathologist who works in a variety of capacities, including e-seminar instructor and clinical writer. She also offers Hanen Programs® for parents and contributes to the development of resources.
After receiving her speech language pathology degree from McGill University in 1996, Lauren began her career at a community hospital just outside of Toronto, where she offered services to a wide range of preschoolers and adults. She had the opportunity to offer some workshops for parents whose children had articulation, fluency, and language difficulties. Lauren soon realized that this was her passion, and that working with parents was an effective and rewarding means of intervention. So when The Hanen Centre had an opening in 1997, Lauren jumped at the chance to offer family-centred intervention on a more regular basis.
When Lauren first started at The Hanen Centre, she offered a new program that was being developed for “Late Talkers”. Together with Cindy Earle, Lauren helped to develop the Leader’s Guide for the Target Word® Program, and they offered the first workshop for speech pathologists in 2000.
As time went on, Lauren developed an interest in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After offering numerous More Than Words® programs for parents, she became an instructor for the More Than Words workshop for speech-language pathologists. Lauren is co-author of the Leader’s Guide for the More Than Words Program.
Lauren stays involved with The Hanen Centre in a number of ways. She develops and offers e-Seminars and, most recently, has become a clinical writer for the Hanen website.