More Than Words®

The Hanen Program® for Parents of Autistic Children or Children Who May Benefit from Social Communication Support

Who it’s for:
Parents of young autistic children



If you have a young autistic child or you are worried about your child's social communication, you may be wondering what you can do to make communication easier and more enjoyable for them. You may want to help them connect more easily with others, have more fun during interactions, or experience less frustration.

Research shows that parents can have a big impact on their child’s social communication development by making the most of the everyday routines and interactions they already have with their child. At a More Than Words Program, you start by learning how to understand your child’s communication better and how to identify the things that interest them. You then learn how to use that knowledge during everyday moments with your child to encourage longer interactions, support your child’s understanding and play skills, and help both you and your child have more fun together.

Program Highlights


More Than Words was developed by experienced speech-language pathologists and is grounded in extensive research. Sudies have been published on the program showing that it improves the communication skills of autistic children. You can read more about the research here. The program is periodically reviewed to ensure that is based on the most current research.

A naturalistic approach  

The strategies you learn in More Than Words are child-centered, meaning they make the most of your child’s unique interests, strengths and preferences, as well as their everyday routines and interactions. In this way, your child expands their social communication skills in the natural context of the things, people and topics that matter to them, making the learning meaningful, ongoing and fun.

The chance to connect with other families

You receive invaluable support and insight from other families who share similar experiences.   

High-quality learning experience

You learn the strategies during interactive sessions with other parents, where you view video examples, have group discussions, ask questions and plan how you will apply what you learn with your child.

Individualized support

The Hanen Certified speech-language pathologist works with you and your child to identify their specific social communication needs and provide you with personalized guidance and feedback.

Developed by a trusted leader in parent-implemented early language intervention

Since 1975, The Hanen Centre has been at the forefront of developing evidence-based programs to involve parents in their child’s early intervention.

What You’ll Learn

At a More Than Words Program, you’ll learn:
  • What motivates your child to communicate.
  • How to use your knowledge about your child’s strengths to set appropriate and realistic goals.
  • How to make interactions with your child last longer.
  • Strategies for how to talk so that your child understands you.
  • Strategies for supporting your child’s play.

Program components

Orientation session

You learn about the More Than Words Program and what to expect.
Pre-program consultation

You and your child meet with the Hanen SLP.
A series of parent-only group sessions

You attend eight interactive small group sessions, led by the Hanen SLP. In these sessions, you learn about social communication development, as well as how to use the program strategies with your child.

Individual visits with you and your child

You participate in three personalised sessions with the SLP, that include a video-recording of you and your child interacting together, followed by discussion with and feedback from the SLP.

Program resources

Throughout the program, you’ll refer to the More Than Words guidebook to support your learning. This easy-to-read guide includes clear explanations and illustrated examples of strategies to support your child’s social communication during everyday interactions and routines.

You’ll also receive Home Plans, which you’ll fill out together with the Hanen SLP, to help you plan how you’ll use the strategies with your child.


 "We found the program really helpful. The strategies are straightforward and easy to put into place during our playtime. We like the progression and how it keeps you on track with your goals easily."

“It is a wonderful program and teaches so many skills for how to encourage your child to communicate. I would recommend it to anyone who has a child with social communication delays.”

“More Than Words has given me more confidence as a parent by providing tools/strategies to help me better understand my son and how he communicates/thinks. It [has helped] me become more patient parent with him and also be a better role model through modeling.”

“After learning to follow my child's lead, he has also learned that what he does has an effect to us and it influences how we respond to him. This led to him being confident in how he requests and he has been able to request more and communicate more.”

“I found the strategies to be a big help! After using them [with] my son, it was like a sigh a relief because they actually worked and now we can not only communicate better but also play together better.”

“My son has made incredible strides due to your program. He has surprised a lot of people. What I really love about the program is that we are taught to work with our children. After all, an SLP may see them once a week, but we are with them around the clock, so if we can help with their speech it is actually a more beneficial situation for the children. Your course is invaluable and a must-do for parents, relatives and friends. I am forever grateful.”

Which children will benefit from More Than Words?

The More Than Words Program is for young autistic children and children who may benefit from social communication support. A speech-language pathologist can help you determine if More Than Words may be helpful for your child.

Looking for a More Than Words Program?

The first step is to find a Hanen SLP who is certified to offer More Than Words. The SLP may offer the program in-person or online, or they may use the program content in their day-to-day individual clinical work with parents and children.

Are you a speech-language pathologist interested in offering the More Than Words® program to families?

Learn more about how you can become certified to lead the More Than Words® Program and to use the materials in 1-1 coaching sessions with parents.

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