Practical Guide: Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk


Hanen have recently released a revised (5th) edition of their It Takes Two To Talk handbook. I got my first copy 9 years ago, when I trained to lead the program, and I’ve been referring to it regularly ever since.

Parents who are worried about their child’s communication skills want to know what they can do to help, and this book is filled with practical suggestions. It guides parents. The authors state clearly, and multiple times, that they recommend parents consult with a speech and language therapist: this book is not designed to replace having speech and language therapy. However, it¬†provides strategies and techniques that can be used in the meantime, or alongside attending therapy.

I’ve happily recommended this book to friends, whose children have delayed language skills. It is clearly written, with delightful illustrations that add clarity to the text. The tone is supportive, and not at all judgemental.

Changes in this new edition include:

  • An updated Stages of Communication Development checklist,
  • A section on supporting children who are learning more that one language,
  • More ideas about how to integrate communication goals in play.

In the bilingualism section, the authors explain different types of bilingualism and state:

The important thing about choosing home languages is that you should be able to communicate effortlessly with your child. That means being able to talk, sing, read and express love to your child in the language you are most comfortable with.

What a lovely way to say it!

This book shows parents how to use the strategies as they go about their daily lives. During daily routines, such as mealtimes, while playing, reading and singing. Parents aren’t being told that to support their child they need to find more time, instead they are shown how to make the most of what they already do.

It’s an inspiring book; after nearly a decade of using this approach, I know the strategies well. And yet when I flick through the book, a picture always¬†jumps out at me, and I’m inspired to try the game or activity with my own kids.


Thanks to the Hanen Centre for sending me a complimentary copy of the new edition, so I could write about it here. These views are my own.