Workshop 4: More Than Words


 More Than Words is a  Hanen program that gives parents/caregivers of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related social communication difficulties, practical tools to help their children communicate. The program’s philosophy is that because parents are the most important people in a child’s life, they are the best people to help the child learn to communicate.

The program derives its theoretical basis from the same social interactionist perspective as It Takes Two to Talk, (see above). The context for learning is the child’s everyday routines and activities. In addition, More Than Words incorporates current best practice guidelines, highlighting the importance of affect, predictability, structure and

Program Components:

  • Delivered by a Hanen Certified speech language pathologist
  • Offered to groups of parents (up to eight families per program)
  • Pre-program consultation
  • Approx. 17.5 hours of group training
  • Three individual video feedback sessions for each family

Parent/Caregivers learn:

  • How their child communicates and the next steps to take
  • How their child learns best and what motivates their child to communicate
  • How to turn everyday activities into opportunities for learning to communicate
  • How to use pictures and print to help their child understand
  • How to talk so that their child can understand them
  • How to develop their child’s play skills
  • Why their child behaves in certain ways and what they can do about those behaviours
  • How to help their child make friends

The Program is organized around four major goals:

  • Improved two-way interaction
  • More mature and conventional ways of communicating
  • Better skills in communicating for social purposes
  • Improved understanding of language

Your child will learn to communicate when he or she:

  • Pays attention to you
  • Finds enjoyment in two-way communication
  • Copies the things you do and say
  • Understands what others say
  • Interacts with other people
  • Has fun!
  • Practices what he or she learns often
  • Has structure, repetition and predictability in his or her life

 More Than Words also recognizes the unique needs of children with autism spectrum disorder and also helps parents understand their child’s sensory preferences and sensitivities so these can be accommodated during everyday interactions.  Most important of all, More Than Words helps builds positive interactions between parent and child, reducing frustration for both and increasing the child’s opportunities to learn to communicate in real life situations.

This program is most effective as the first step in intervention for a child with ASD.  While it is compatible with other treatments, the program is intense and requires commitment from parents. That is why it is recommended that parents take More Than Words when their family isn’t involved in other treatments. Parents, however, who are involved in treatments like Applied Behaviour Analysis are encouraged to share this information with the Hanen Certified Speech-Language Pathologist/Therapist leading the group, so that she can integrate what the child is learning in other situations into the personalized video feedback sessions conducted during the program.