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.

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.


Anne McDade
Director for Autism Services, The Hanen Centre

Anne McDade provides leadership and direction for Hanen’s autism parent programs and workshops for professionals, including More Than Words®, TalkAbility™ and 4 “I”s to Socialize™. Anne is from Glasgow, Scotland, and her Hanen story began in 1992 when she attended an It Takes Two to Talk® workshop as a student. In her first year working in the field at the National Health Service (NHS) Lanarkshire, she was struck by how little parents were involved in the early intervention process, and she was certain her impact could be increased with a parent-implemented model. So, Anne successfully sought funding for a study on the It Takes Two to Talk® program for parents in 1992. When the study yielded excellent results, the NHS Lanarkshire created two full time posts for speech-language therapists to run Hanen programs, with Anne filling one of them.

Anne went on to become an It Takes Two to Talk workshop instructor in 1995 and a Learning Language and Loving It instructor in 1997. Her greatest passion, however, lay in working with autistic children and their families, and she suspected early on that particular Hanen strategies could be helpful for this population.  When More Than Words – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Autistic Children was developed in 1999, she immediately attended the More Than Words workshop and became certified to lead the More Than Words program for parents. She then went on to become an instructor for the More Than Words workshop in 2000, as well as for the TalkAbility workshop in 2009.

In 2017, Anne spearheaded the development of 4 “I”s to Socialize, a Hanen training that expanded the reach of More Than Words to a variety of professionals who work with young autistic children and their families. This training focuses on helping early intervention professionals support and coach parents of autistic children so they can play a leading role in their child’s intervention.
In 2019, Anne relocated to Canada in order to assume the role of Program Director for all of Hanen’s autism parent programs and professional trainings. She was instrumental in converting Hanen’s in-person autism professional training workshops to online workshops, as well as creating telepractice versions for More Than Words and TalkAbility programs for parents. Anne currently spearheads the development of all Hanen autism program materials and resources, and supports the speech-language pathologists on staff who lead these programs.

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).

Cindy Earle
Former Program Director for Target Word™ and Former Resource Coordinator for Hanen Training with Ontario’s Preschool Speech and Language Program 

Cindy Earle was the Program Director for the Target Word™ Program for over 21 years. Earlier in her career, she immersed herself in research and interventions specific to very young children with primary expressive language delay. This led to the development of Target Word™ – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children who Are Late Talkers and its resources, including the Target Word Parent Handbook. Cindy provided leadership for this program until her retirement in 2021. Initially she was an Instructor for It Takes Two to Talk® and Learning Language and Loving It™, but once she became involved with the Target Word program, she dedicated her time to the development of the Target Word workshop, to leading this workshop and to training Target Word Instructors.

Cindy was also Resource Coordinator for Hanen Training with Ontario’s Preschool Speech and Language Program from 1998 to 2021. This position involved coordinating and overseeing Hanen trainings for professionals working with young children in Ontario’s publicly funded organizations. With funding from the government of Ontario, Cindy spearheaded this initiative, which aimed to ensure that, by training and supporting speech-language pathologists to lead Hanen Programs, families in Ontario had access to these programs when needed.

Cindy is currently a Clinical Consultant with The Hanen Centre and continues to offer Target Word workshops for Hanen SLPs.