Target Word® - The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children who are Late Talkers
If your child is under the age of 30 months and you’ve noticed that he frequently communicates messages and ideas to you, but does not use as many words as other children his age, the Target Word Program may be able to help.
This program was specifically designed for groups of parents of children under the age of 30 months who are using few words or who, by the age of 24 months, are not using several two-word combinations. These children understand what they are told, have good play and turn-taking skills, and have no trouble learning everyday routines. But when it comes to using words, their vocabulary is limited.
The Hanen Centre identifies a late talker as a child who meets the following criteria:
- Has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 24 words and is between 18 and 20 months
- Has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 40 words and is between 21 and 24 months
- Has an expressive vocabulary of fewer than 100 words and/or limited two-word combinations and is between 24 and 30 months;
- Has relatively good skills in his or her other areas of development (learning, gross and fine motor, play, social, etc.) and
- Has some risk factors, such as limited use of gestures, limited use of different speech sounds, and having a member in the extended family who has had speech or learning difficulties
If you’re the parent of a child who may be a late talker, the Target Word Program can help you learn practical strategies that will increase your child’s use of words and build his vocabulary during the everyday activities you do together.
- How to build language-learning opportunities into everyday activities and routines
- What to do when your child communicates without using words to help him move to the next step
- How to introduce “target” words into everyday routines and playtime
- How to repeat target words frequently in everyday situations to create opportunities for your child to say words
- How to turn play time into language-learning time
The Target Word parent program includes:
- An individual consultation with a Hanen Certified speech-language pathologist before the program begins
- Five informative sessions with a small group of parents, led by a Hanen Certified speech-language pathologist
- Two individual consultation appointments with the speech-language pathologist to discuss specific communication goals for your child. You will be videotaped interacting with your child and you will then watch the videotape with the speech-language pathologist to see what is working and how you can adapt your interactions to help your child learn even more
The Target Word Parent Handbook is used throughout the program to help you identify your child’s individual needs and use each strategy to meet those needs. You’ll use it to track your child's use of his target words, to plan and record home activities, and to note the changes you observe in your child.
In addition to the Parent Handbook, the Target Word program uses the It Takes Two to Talk® guidebook. Following the program, you may refer back to this book for helpful tips to encourage your child’s language learning.
Parents who are waiting to attend a program may purchase the guidebook in advance to give their learning a head start and to gain some practical strategies that they can start using with their child right away.
Learn more about the It Takes Two to Talk guidebook and DVD.
Benefits of Taking the Target Word® Program
Practical strategies you can use in everyday situations
Children hear thousands of words every day. Although late talkers understand what is said to them, it is thought that they have difficulty isolating one word from another, and this makes it hard for them to use individual words. Target Word shows parents how to create opportunities for their child to send a message, and then to highlight specific words during everyday interactions to make it easier for the child to learn to say new words.
The Hanen Certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) who leads the Target Word program will help you carefully select 10 “target” words for your child (i.e. words that your child will be motivated to learn and use, based on your input and the SLP’s assessment) and will show you how to create opportunities for your child to use those words frequently throughout the day.
Here are some examples of strategies you’ll learn in the program:
|Let your child lead
Join in the play and introduce new words
|Expand your child’s message
Add new ideas and words to your
|TARGET what you say
Highlight words and add gestures to make them stand out.
|Put a SPARK in songs and games
Include words that are important to your child in songs and games.
The Target Word Program offers you opportunities to practice and discuss each strategy with your fellow group members so you’ll be comfortable and confident using them at home.
The chance to connect with other parents
Many parents who attended the Target Word program have told us how helpful it was to meet other parents of children who are late talkers. You’ll connect with parents who have similar concerns and you’ll gain valuable insight by listening to their experiences.
As one participant explained:
“What I loved [about Target Word] was meeting other parents who were going through the same things, and finding out that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know how to play with my child. The group discussions and story-sharing was very encouraging”.
An evidence-based and reputable program
Like all of Hanen's programs, Target Word was developed by expert speech-language pathologists and is grounded in extensive research in the field of early language intervention. The program draws from research that identifies the most effective strategies for enhancing very young children’s expressive language development.
What parents say about Target Word®...
"I am now much more aware of how to respond to my child so he gets opportunities and help in developing his vocabulary. My child now has a great number of words (almost double)”
“I really see how it benefitted Sophie, who is now talking a blue streak – and not only Sophie, but our family as well. Now we know how to better interact with her and we are seeing a big difference not only in her in her personality since taking the program. She’s more outgoing and not as shy around other kids. We really learned a lot from it and we really had a lot of fun with it as well”.
Finding a Target Word® Program
Target Word Programs are offered by specially trained Hanen Certified Speech-Language Pathologists. To find a program in your area, you can use this website to search for a Hanen Certified SLP or search for a Hanen Program.
Find a Hanen SLP
Find a Hanen Program
Note on availability: Target Word is a very specialized Hanen Program® that is not as widely available as other Hanen programs. If you find that your search for a Target Word-certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) doesn’t yield any results for your area, you may be interested in contacting a Hanen SLP in your area who is trained in It Takes Two to Talk® - The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays. The Target Word Program is largely based on It Takes Two to Talk principles and these SLPs would be able to help you implement the Hanen approach with your child.