Welcome to our Autism Corner!

In this section, you'll find helpful tips and information for supporting the communication development of young children on the autism spectrum – all while connecting and having fun together! Use the links below to jump to a specific section:

Or, learn more about Hanen programs and resources.

Build Your Child’s Communication Skills

As a parent, you know your child best. You know they have special strengths, abilities and interests. You’re also aware of the people, places and things that make them comfortable, as well as those things to which they're most sensitive. As for your child, they are likely most at ease – and therefore most open to communicating – around the most important people in their lives and in the environments they're most familiar with.

This puts you, the parent, in the best possible position to encourage your child to learn new communication skills. Studies show that when parents interact with their children in specific ways that motivate, encourage and support their child’s communication, they can make a significant difference to their child’s social and communication development.

By taking advantage of the routines and activities you already do every day with your child, you can help them learn many important skills that will enable them to better connect with others. 

Take a look at these helpful articles for tips and ideas on encouraging communication in children with autism:

Let’s Look at a Hanen Strategy: “Include Your Child’s Interests”

Imagine that your child is playing with a toy train set on his own and you want to get involved and interact with him. When you use the Include Your Child’s Interests strategy from our More Than Words® program, you can! Including your child’s interests motivates him to interact with you, making it the perfect first step to getting an interaction going. Just keep these steps in mind as you play:

  • Step #1

    First, observe your child closely to see exactly what he is doing.
  • Step #2

    Then, imitate what he’s doing. If he is pushing a train along one part of the track, grab another train and push it along another part of the track.

    Or, you can get involved by helping him with what he is doing. For example, you can hand him new pieces he can add to the track to make it longer or more interesting.
  • Step #3

    Finally, comment on what your child is doing and point to it, making it sound exciting. If he adds another car to his train, say “Wow. Now your train is so big!”

The Power of Parent-implemented Intervention

At The Hanen Centre, we have led the way in parent-implemented intervention – where parents are an essential part of their child’s intervention.

It’s important to remember that intervention always involves a therapist. To best help your child, we recommend that you work with a speech-language professional – someone who can guide and coach you, so that when you are with your child, you know which strategies to use and how to best use them. This way, intervention is ongoing and becomes part of every interaction with your child.

Find out more in our article Parents as “Speech Therapists”: What a New Study Shows.

Read our articles on some studies about parent training and autism:

If you’re ready to go further, here’s how Hanen can help

If you’re ready to take the first step towards parent-implemented intervention, check out everything we can offer parents of children with autism or social communication difficulties.

Parent Programs

These programs, run by Hanen-certified speech-language pathologists, give you the tools you need to help your child reach his fullest communication potential.

Want to take a Hanen Program®? Let us know, and we can connect you with a speech-language pathologist in your area.

Guidebooks and DVDs

While intervention can only happen when you work with a qualified professional, these guidebooks and DVDs can help you make the most of your child’s early learning potential, with beautifully illustrated examples of our strategies and videos that bring the strategies to life.

Are you a professional?

Our e-Seminars give insights on specific topics related to working with children on the autism spectrum – and they’re worth ASHA CEUs or professional development hours.