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.

Janice Greenberg
Former Director of Early Childhood Education Services 

Janice Greenberg was Program Director for Early Childhood Education Services at The Hanen Centre for 22 years from 2000 to 2022. She combined her passion with her expertise in supporting children’s early language and literacy skills by developing programs and resources primarily for early childhood educators.

In her time at The Hanen Centre, Janice introduced exciting innovations to the Learning Language and Loving It Program, including flexible options for program delivery and the development of the three one-day Teacher Talk training series and Teacher Talk workbooks. Janice also developed Hanen’s two literacy-focused programs – ABC and Beyond for educators in early childhood settings and I’m Ready, a family literacy program for parents of preschool children. She also collaborated on research in the area of teacher-child interactions and the efficacy of Hanen programs for educators with Elaine Weitzman, Executive Director of The Hanen Centre, and Luigi Girolametto, former Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Speech Pathology.

Janice co-authoured three guidebooks: Learning Language and Loving It (Weitzman & Greenberg, 2002), ABC and Beyond (Weitzman & Greenberg, 2010) and I’m Ready! (Greenberg & Weitzman, 2014).

Nancy Johnson
Director of Child Language Services, The Hanen Centre

As the Director of Child Language Services at The Hanen Centre, Nancy Johnson provides leadership and direction to the It Takes Two to Talk® and Target Word Programs, coordinating the development of program materials and resources, and supporting speech-language pathologists who lead these programs. She is also responsible for overseeing the It Takes Two to Talk® certification workshop and the Spark Communication™ workshops. Nancy received her Master of Arts Degree in Speech/Language Pathology at Michigan State University. She began working at the Children’s Developmental Rehabilitation Programme at Chedoke-McMaster Hospital (now part of Hamilton Health Services) in 1987. It was while working in this out-patient setting that Nancy recognized how integral family involvement in early intervention was. She attended her first Hanen workshop (It Takes Two to Talk®) in 1988 and immediately led an It Takes Two to Talk® Program for Parents of Children with Language Delays. Seeing the impact of enabling parents and caregivers with skills to facilitate their children’s communication development, as well as the benefits of teaching parents within a group setting, provided the framework for Nancy’s clinical work in early intervention.

In 1989, Nancy moved to British Columbia and was instrumental in the establishment of a community-based early intervention program. Based on a family-centred service delivery model, Hanen Programs were foundational to the services Nancy offered at the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre for more than 25 years.

In 2000, Nancy became an It Takes Two to Talk® Instructor, leading certification workshops and sharing her passion for the program with speech-language pathologists internationally. Nancy joined The Hanen Centre in 2021 and is thrilled to be a part of the organization that informed her clinical work for so many years.