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Using Curiosity to Encourage Communication Skills

Published: Nov 19, 2021

Research shows that when children are curious, they not only learn more, but are more likely to remember what they learned. Here are some fun tips to encourage your child’s curiosity during everyday interactions to promote their early learning. 

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New Research Shows that More Than Words® Helps Both Parents and Children!

Published: Oct 26, 2021

There have been many studies on Hanen's More Than Words program for parents of children with autsim or social communication difficulties. Take a look at the results of the two most recent studies -- one from Malaysia and one from Turkey!

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E's and P's with Falling Leaves: Tips to Strengthen Your Child's Language and Thinking

Published: Oct 26, 2021

If your child is preschool aged (3-5), there's so much you can do during your everyday conversations to boost her language learning and to prepare her for school success. Learn how you can use the Hanen “E’s and Ps” strategy on your next outdoor walk to make your conversations more interesting and more impactful for your child.

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Using Early Childhood Classroom Activities to Build Vocabulary

Published: Sep 20, 2021

Studies show a strong connection between vocabulary development and academic success. Here are some tips to make the most of your preschool day to ensure that children have as many opportunities as possible to learn new words.

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Imitation and Communication: What’s the Connection?

Published: Jul 22, 2021

Learning to copy the actions of others is an important stepping stone on the road to communication. Learn more about the importance of imitation for children with autism, and what you can do to help your child imitate while having fun together.

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When a Child Has a Language Delay, Research Shows That Parents Can Make a Big Difference!

Published: Jun 17, 2021

Over the last decade, researchers looked at a large number of studies on parent-implemented intervention and compiled their findings. Here are the trends they found that tell us how effective this type of intervention is, and which types of children benefit.

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Parents’ Role in Language Intervention

Published: Jun 17, 2021

Are parents expected to be involved in their child’s early language intervention? What does parent involvement look like these days, and how important is it to a child’s speech and language therapy?

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Four Things You Might Not Know About Language Learning Difficulties in Childhood

Published: May 12, 2021
The more we understand about language learning difficulties, the better we can support children to get the help they need. Here are four facts you should know about early language learning challenges.

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“He Was Talking and Then He Just Stopped”: A Look at Regression in Autism

Published: Apr 14, 2021
Our understanding of autism is always growing and evolving as new research comes to light. Here’s what the latest research says about skill loss (also called regression) in children with and without ASD.
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Two Tips for Helping Children Pretend Together

Published: Mar 11, 2021

Pretend play is one of the best contexts for building communication, thinking and social skills. Whether you're a parent or an early childhood educator, here are two simple tips you can use to encourage pretend play while keeping it both fun and appropriate for the child's stage.

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How to Talk to Children Who Are Learning to Talk

Published: Feb 12, 2021
It's natural to simplify our language when speaking to children who are just learning to talk. But is it possible to simplify language too much? See what the research says about the kind of language that works best to help children learn.

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Making New Words “Stick”

Published: Jan 6, 2021
Children with language delays often need extra help to develop an understanding of a new word and to be able to use that word on their own. Here are some tips parents can use to make word learning easier for their child.

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Tips to Build Vocabulary: Repeat Words That Match Your Child’s Interests

Published: Dec 14, 2020
If your child is just starting to talk, you might be wondering how you can help him learn new words. Here are some tips for identifying the best words to help your child learn and highlighting those words most effectively.

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Three Keys to Helping Your Child Learn Language

Published: Nov 24, 2020
There are many techniques you can use to help your child learn language, but which ones are the most effective? Discover the three key things you can do during any activity with your child to give his language learning the biggest boost.

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Does Telling Children to Say Words Build Their Vocabulary?

Published: Oct 14, 2020
If you've ever tried to help your child learn a new word by telling him to say it, you're not alone! But does this tactic actually work? What does it really take to help your child understand a new word and use it on his own?

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Moving Hanen Parent Programs Online!

Published: Aug 5, 2020
With the aim of reaching as many families as possible, The Hanen Centre has come up with creative ways to use technology to help more families support their child’s communication development. In this article, we explain how this new way of providing parent-implemented intervention – known as “telepractice” – is proving to be invaluable as many in-person services are limited or prohibited due to COVID-19.
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Talking to Young Children with ASD Matters, New Study Shows

Published: Jul 2, 2020

According to a new study, very young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who hear more words and have more back-and-forth conversations with their parents tend to have better language skills at age two. In this article, we share how you can encourage conversations.

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COVID-19: How Educators Can Build Interactions While Balancing Precautions

Published: Jun 17, 2020

Here at The Hanen Centre, we have spent a couple of decades building programs and creating books to help educators create the best possible interactions that build language, communication and literacy for all children in their classroom. With the novel coronavirus outbreak forcing society to adapt in unprecedented ways, we've been discussing how those same strategies can be adapted in the time of social distancing.

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How to Build a Strong Foundation for Your Child's Language Skills

Published: May 27, 2020

Your child’s language foundation is the key to his success as a communicator. It’s upon these back-and-forth interactions that the rest of his language skills are built. So how can you give your child the chance to develop a strong foundation for his communication skills?

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‘Springboards for Learning’ Early Experiences Launch Children’s Development Forward

Published: Apr 28, 2020

A new study by researchers shows that a home environment that is rich with language and learning jumpstarts children’s skills and has benefits that can be seen until at least Grade 5. In this article, we explain the results of the study and how you can help your child's learning.

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Tap into Your Child’s Natural Way of Learning Language

Published: Feb 10, 2020

By age six, the average child understands about 10,000 words! This amazing feat happens by children picking out patterns in the language they hear every day. For children with language delays, they have more difficulty picking out these patterns in language. In this article, we share some tips on how you can help your child find patterns during your everyday interactions.

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Common Questions about Questions

Published: Jan 20, 2020
As a parent, you probably use questions as a way to encourage your child to talk and help him or her have little conversations with you. In this article, you’ll find answers to some questions you might have about how to use questions effectively to build your child’s language and conversation skills.
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Supporting Children’s Vocabulary and Thinking in a Magic Potion Laboratory: A Reflective Conversation Between Educators, a Speech-Language Pathologist and a Linguist

Published: Dec 31, 2019
This is a collaborative article where representatives from three different professions reflect on how teachers can intentionally create opportunities for extending children’s thinking and supporting vocabulary development.
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Four Tips for Helping Children with Autism Make Eye Contact

Published: Oct 14, 2019
Eye contact is an important part of sending and receiving messages and being able to connect with people. But eye contact is only meaningful for children if it happens during natural conversations and interactions. Here are some tips you can use to encourage your child to look at you during fun, everyday conversations and activities.
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Helping Verbal Children with ASD Grow Their Language Skills

Published: Oct 4, 2019
Did you know that you and your child have a big influence on each other’s language? If your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder, you can help him learn language by being one step ahead. In this article, we describe what it means to be a step ahead in the conversation and how this paves the way for your child’s language development.

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Choosing a Preschool That Encourages Language Learning: What Should You Look For?

Published: Sep 9, 2019
Children’s language learning skills are influenced by the people they interact with everyday. As these are the skills that prepare them for kindergarten and future school readiness, it is important to choose a preschool environment that encourages children’s language growth. Find out what you should look for when choosing a preschool for your child.
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Use “Thinking and Feeling Words” to Build Your Child's Communication Skills

Published: Jul 10, 2019
While children’s first words tend to be about concrete things like objects and actions, they soon go on to learn more abstract language about thoughts and feelings. Find out why this kind of language is so important for both social and academic success, and what you can do to promote it during your daily interactions with your child.
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Literacy in the Early Years: What Children Need to Learn and How You Can Help Them Learn It

Published: Jun 18, 2019
One of the key ways to prepare young children for school success is to build their emergent literacy skills – the skills required before a child begins to read and write. What are the key emergent literacy skills young children need to learn, and what are some of the research-based ways we can support them?
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New Research Reveals the Power of Pretending

Published: May 13, 2019
Joint attention and gestures are key skills that allow children to progress with their language development. In fact, they lay the foundation for children’s first words. So, what kind of interactions are best for nurturing these abilities? A new study reveals that Pretend Play is an excellent way for children to practice these important early communication skills.
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Creating More Opportunities for Interaction with Children on the
Autism Spectrum

Published: Apr 22, 2019
This Autism Awareness Month, we had the chance to share some very practical information on creating the best opportunities for children with autism to interact. Whether you’re a parent or a professional, these resources can help you lay the foundation for the kinds of enjoyable interactions that help children connect, have fun, and learn new social skills.
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Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Taking Turns with Your Child

Published: Mar 14, 2019
In order to help young children learn language and have conversations, it’s really important that they learn about taking turns. Here are some tips on the best ways to help your child take turns, and what to keep in mind if your child has a language delay.
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Why Self-regulation Is Important for Young Children

Published: Feb 12, 2019
Did you know that your child's ability to self-regulate is directly related to his language learning, as well as many other areas of his development? Find out why this skill is so important and what sort of things might affect your child's ability to self-regulate.
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Do Late Talkers “Grow Out of It?”

Published: Jan 28, 2019
A Late Talker is a toddler under 30 months who has a small vocabulary for his or her age, but is developing typically otherwise. It’s easy to assume that these children don’t need extra help because many of them seem to catch up on their own. However, a look at the research tells us that this may not be the case.
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It's Never Too Early to Have Conversations with Your Child

Published: Jan 14, 2019
To learn language, young children need to do much more than just hear their parents use words -- they need to engage in back-and-forth conversations, even if they're not yet using words or sentences. What does an "early conversation" look like, and how can you make sure you're having them with your child as often as possible?
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Late Talkers... What We Know, and What We Don't

Published: Dec 14, 2018
Are all Late Talkers alike or are some at greater risk than others for ongoing language delays? Do late-talking children need extra help or do they just catch up on their own? Looking at what research tells us about Late Talkers can help us decide if a child needs extra support.
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Helping Children Who Use Echolalia

Published: Nov 5, 2018
If your child uses echolalia, it can be tricky to figure out what he’s trying to tell you. But by using some specific interaction techniques, you can discover what he might be trying to say more easily, and also help him learn other ways to communicate his message.
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3 Things You Should Know About Echolalia

Published: Oct 29, 2018
There are many reasons a child with autism might use echolalia. While it may be difficult to figure out what your child is trying to say when he uses echolalia, learning a little bit about this kind speech can help you figure out the meaning behind his message. Here are three things you need to know about echolalia.
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Helping Children Develop Language for Thinking and Learning

Published: Sep 26, 2018
If your child already uses short sentences and understands simple questions, he’s now ready for you to help him take the next step in his language journey – understanding and using “decontextualized language” or “language for thinking and learning”. Here are some practical tips for helping your child develop this important language skill.
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Moving Beyond the “Here-and-Now”: Using Language for Thinking and Learning

Published: Sep 18, 2018
To be prepared for school, children need to be able to understand and use a specific kind of language called "decontextualized language" or "language for thinking and learning". Learn more about what this kind of language is and how it sets the stage for academic success.
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The "Super Skill" for School Readiness

Published: Aug 23, 2018
We know that having strong early skills in areas like math and literacy predicts children's success in those areas later on. But imagine a skill that predicts not only its own success, but the success of many other academic and social skills as well. Does such a "super skill" exist?
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How to Help Your Child Use Early Sentences

Published: Aug 14, 2018
Most children start combining words into sentences somewhere around 30 months old, though this may happen a bit later for children with language delays. Whether your child is typically developing or has a delay, there are specific ways you can talk to your child to encourage this big step in language development.
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Early Sentences — A Big Step in Language Development

Published: Aug 9, 2018
It’s a major milestone in language development when children start to combine words, like “big bus”, “I want cookie”, or “come Mommy.” This big step allows children to express more than one idea at a time, and it suddenly becomes easier to figure out what they’re trying to tell us! Find out how early sentences develop and when you can expect your child to start using them.
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Strengthening Your Child’s “Control Centre”: How Bilingualism Boosts Executive Functioning

Published: Jul 5, 2018

New research shows a happy side effect of bilingualism in young children – better executive functioning skills. Find out why these skills are important and how a second language can give them a boost.


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The Power of Turn-taking: How Back-and-forth Interactions Help Children Learn Language

Published: May 15, 2018

Having a back-and-forth conversation with a child may seem like a small thing, but it turns out it’s everything when it comes to helping them learn language.  A new study has shown a strong connection between turn-taking and a child’s brain development and language skills.  Find out what makes high quality interactions so powerful and how you can make them happen with your child.

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Encouraging Joint Engagement with Children with ASD

Published: Apr 6, 2018
Joint engagement happens when an adult and child interact together while focusing on the same object. Research shows a strong link between a child's communication development and the amount of time they spend in joint engagement with adults. Find out how you can encourage joint engagement with children on the autism spectrum during fun, everyday interactions.
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You Are Your Child’s Best Toy!

Published: Mar 22, 2018

For children with language delays, one of the best contexts for learning language is during “people games” – games you play with people and not toys. Find out why, and what you can do during people games to maximize your child’s language learning.