The Hanen approach has led the way in changing early language intervention by putting parents first in order to help children best.
Many years ago, early language intervention involved speech-language pathologists "treating" a child in a therapy room with little or no parent involvement. In the early 1970's, research began to reveal that the involvement of parents in their child's early intervention was critical and that the earlier parents were involved, the better the outcome for the child. Research also showed that children learned best in their natural environments, where they were motivated to communicate with the important people in their lives. This required a significant change to the way speech therapy was offered to young children.
So, in 1975, Ayala Hanen Manolson, a speech-language pathologist in Montreal, Canada, developed an innovative program for groups of parents whose children had significant language delays. This program did something novel: instead of giving the children speech therapy once a week, Ms Manolson gathered their parents in a group for a series of sessions and taught them how they could assume a primary role in helping their children develop improved communication skills.