SPARK Communication™: Coaching Parents to Use Hanen Strategies

SPARK Communication™ is an online Hanen training designed specifically for professionals who work with young children with language delays and their families.

Participants learn research-based responsive interaction strategies — drawn from Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk® program and guidebook — that are known to accelerate children’s early language development. They also learn how to offer individual coaching to parents to help them apply these strategies during everyday interactions with their child to make language learning a natural, ongoing process for the child.

What SPARK Communication Offers

Based on current research and best practice, SPARK Communication offers a framework to effectively support children’s early communication development by making parents a central part of the intervention process. The training includes:

  1. The four early communication stages and styles, and how the various interactive roles parents play affect their child's opportunities to interact and learn
  2. The evidence-based interaction and language-building strategies that accelerate early
    communication development
  3. A coaching framework for involving and teaching parents during one-to-one consultations and therapy sessions to help them play a key role in facilitating their child’s early communication development
  4. A concrete plan for applying the SPARK coaching framework and interaction strategies with the
    families on their caseload
  5. A set of invaluable resources to support their daily work with families
  6. A common language and approach to use with other members of multidisciplinary teams in order to provide consistent and cohesive service to each family.

Training Format

SPARK Communication is an online workshop offered in the following formats:

  • Two full days of training offered on consecutive or non-consecutive days, typically one week apart
  • A series of shorter sessions over a two-week period

Learning activities include a pre-workshop assignment, self-study components, online small group activities and live online sessions with the other participants, facilitated by the workshop instructor.


Training Components

The SPARK Communication training includes experiential, hands-on group education that:
  • familiarizes providers with the responsive strategies that have been shown to accelerate children’s communication development;
  • describes how to identify primary strategies for each child and family based on the child's stage and style of communication development and the parents’ style of interaction;
  • addresses the explicit teaching and coaching methods required to help parents apply responsive strategies in order to facilitate their child’s communication development; and
  • involves participants’ preparing an action plan to be implemented with the identified family.   

Who SPARK Communication Is For

SPARK Communication is most valuable to those working within multi-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary and Key Worker models to support young children with language and/or developmental delays. These professionals include:
  • Early intervention providers
  • Early childhood intervention providers
  • Early childhood special educators
  • Special education teachers
  • Early intervention administrators
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Social workers/family therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Direct care staff/therapy assistants
  • Nurses/medical staff
  • Communication disorder assistants and speech-language pathology assistants

What participants have said...

“I [now] have a variety of strategies that I can use to help the parent understand and carry over.”

“Sometimes, I assume the parents know what I’m talking about – [I learned that I] need to step back.”

“I have learned ways to step back…and coach… instead of feeling like the constant demonstrator.”

“I’ve [learned]… many new ways to present to parents how fun, easy and interactive putting these strategies into practice could be.”

“I can now discuss the child’s communication with parents and give them strategies to help their child initiate and increase language.”

Why Choose This Training?

Whether you’re an early interventionist or an administrator looking for high-quality staff training, SPARK Communication can meet your professional development needs.

This training:

  • Equips providers to teach and support parents so they can effectively facilitate the communication development of their young children in everyday situations – This training not only provides interventionists with research-based language-building strategies to share with parents, but also offers an effective framework for coaching parents that’s based on the principles of adult education. Participants learn techniques that are known to be effective with adult learners, allowing parents to absorb, retain and generalize the strategies they learn.
  • Was developed by The Hanen Centre, a world-renowned authority in family-centered early language intervention – For over 35 years, The Hanen Centre has specialized in:
    1. developing evidence-based programs for parents and educators that break down the research into easy-to-use language-building strategies, and
    2. training professionals to use Hanen’s effective teaching methodology for involving and engaging parents in the intervention process.
  • Is led by an experienced Hanen Instructor – Hanen Instructors lead intensive workshops for professionals around the world and have extensive experience working with young children and their families.
  • Is flexible and convenient – The SPARK workshop is offered entirely online so participants can attend from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. The Hanen Centre can also offer the training on dates that work for your organization.
  • Accommodates up to 24 participants online
  • Is competitively priced – With spots available for as low as $395, this workshop includes all the materials participants need for the training and for supplementing intervention with the families in their homes.

Taking the SPARK Communication™ Workshop

To start supporting young children with language and/or developmental delays and their parents, visit the Workshop Schedule pages to find a training near you or register for email notifications.