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Target WordAdvanced Workshop for Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) often see very young children who leave them puzzled. These are the children who appear to have all the skills necessary for expressive language development but are notably behind other children their age. Cognitive skills, comprehension, social and play skills are all developing as expected, but they just aren’t using words or word combinations like other children their age.

A child is considered a late talker if he or she:

  • has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 24 words and is between 18 and 20 months; OR
  • has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 40 words and is between 21 and 24 months; OR
  • has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 100 words and is between 24 and 30 months; OR
  • has limited word combinations by 24 months; AND
  • has relatively good understanding, play, social, motor and cognitive skills: AND
  • presents as positive for risk factors for ongoing speech and language delay

As an SLP, it’s important for you to be able to identify late talkers and to know how to address their very specific expressive language needs.

Target Word is a two-day advanced Hanen workshop that certifies you to offer the Target Word Hanen Program® for Parents of Children who are Late Talkers. This workshop gives you the tools to enable parents to help their child learn to use words and to lay the foundation for early sentence use.

This program focuses specifically on building expressive vocabulary through responsive, child-centered interactions. You’ll help each parent choose 10 individual “target” words for their child to learn and you'll show them how to incorporate these words repetitively into a variety of everyday activities and routines.

The Target Word workshop includes a review of the current literature on assessment and intervention for children who are Late Talkers, as well as training on how to involve parents in a developmentally appropriate intervention to facilitate their child's expressive language development.

Why Take the Target Word Advanced Workshop?


►Certification to offer an evidence-based intervention program to parents

Like all of Hanen's programs, Target Word was developed by expert speech-language pathologists at The Hanen Centre and is grounded in extensive research in the field of early language intervention. The program draws from research that identifies effective strategies for enhancing very young children’s expressive language development.

This program is based on research that showed that the Target Word approach is effective in increasing late talkers' expressive vocabulary and that this form of intervention “kickstarted” the children’s language development in general.

When you offer the Target Word program to parents, you’ll be showing them:

  • how to respond when their child communicates without using words
  • how to turn everyday interactions into opportunities for language learning
  • how to introduce new words and ideas into playtime and other activities
  • how to join in their child's play and favourite activities in ways that help their child use new words
  • how to set up activities so their child can use new words

You’ll teach parents practical, easy-to-use strategies that naturally fit into everyday activities with their child.  These strategies include:

Let your child lead
Parents discover ways to join in the play and other activities, and model the words their child would use.
Expand your child’s message
Parents learn how to add new ideas and words to their child’s messages.
TARGET what you say
Parents learn how to highlight words and add gestures to make the words stand out.
Create language opportunities
Parents learn how to use mini-routines to create opportunities for their child to send language messages.

To read more about what parents learn in the Target Word program, click on the link below:




►First Step Diagnostic Intervention

The Target Word Program provides SLPs with an initial diagnostic intervention for young children whose delayed expressive language may be due to suspected motor speech difficulties.

In their Best Practice guidelines for Childhood Apraxia of Speech, the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends that intervention for very young children be designed to support a “safe communication environment that encourages increased communication”. The Target Word program meets these criteria by helping parents create a safe and supportive communicative environment while facilitating their child's overall communication and early speech-sound development.

Following the Target Word Program, SLPs will have a better idea of next steps for these children, making Target Word an ideal diagnostic intervention.

►Comprehensive resources to use in your Target Word program

SLPs who attend a Target Word workshop receive all the resources required to offer the Target Word Program to parents, including a detailed Leaders Guide, Program slides and fidelity checklists.

For a list of resources received at the workshop, visit the Target Word Workshop FAQ.

►Professional development hours

This workshop is offered for 1.65 ASHA CEUs (Advanced Level, Professional Area) Full attendance and participation during the two days is required. As a prerequisite, there is an Individual Learning Component to be completed before participation in the workshop. This workshop focuses specifically on the Target Word Program and accompanying resources and will include no or limited information on other similar or related products or services.








►Ongoing Support

As a Hanen member certified in Target Word, the Program Director Cindy Earle, as well as the Hanen team will be there to support you and answer any questions you may have about running the program or using the resources. You’ll receive frequent updates on the latest news and research concerning early childhood language development and the Target Word Program, and you’ll have easy access to all updates to the Leader’s Guide.


Taking the Target Word Workshop

The Target Word workshop is open to speech-language pathologists who:


To find a Target Word workshop near you, visit the Workshop Schedule at the link below.


WORKSHOP SCHEDULE WORKSHOP FAQ