Coming to Summit, NJ

More Than Words® — The Hanen Program for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder®

13-week program for parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or social communication difficulties. You’ll learn evidenced-based strategies to help your child communicate and become your child’s most important communication teacher.

Led by Rachel Cortese, MS ED, MS CCC-SLP, BCBA

Rachel Cortese is a licensed Speech-language pathologist and behavior therapist who has completed specialized training and certification from The Hanen Centre, an internationally recognized leader in speech and language intervention techniques.

Program Components

The More Than Words® program consists of four individual family sessions and nine small group, parent only, training sessions.  By the end of the program, you will know what to say and what to do to be your child’s most important communication teacher. The strategies you will learn will become a natural part of the way you interact with your child.

During the 9 group sessions you’ll learn step-by-step, how to:

  • Recognize your child’s stage and style of communication so that you know which steps to take next
  • Identify what motivates your child to interact with you
  • Adjust everyday routines to help your child take turns and keep interactions going
  • Follow your child’s lead to encourage him to take turns in an interaction and communicate
  • Implement strategies in your everyday interactions to help your child understand language
  • Tweak the way you play and read books with your child to help him learn language
  • Learn to foster longer, more meaningful interactions and improved social skills

During the individual meetings, you will advance your use of the strategies learned via on the spot feedback and coaching from direct observation and videotape of your interaction with your child.


All parent-only group sessions will take place Tuesday mornings from 9:30am-12pm. Individual sessions (IS) will be made with your family during the weeks indicated below and will last approximately thirty minutes to one hour.

Sept 10: Orientation Session (9:30am-11:30am) 

Sept 17: Individual Pre-Program Consultation with each family (IS)

Sept 24: Session 1, Follow Your Child’s Lead

Oct 1: Session 2, Keep the Interaction Going

Oct 8 : Individual Video Feedback Session 1 (IS)

Oct 15: Session 3, R.O.C.K in People Play

Oct 22: Session 4, Help Your Child Learn with Daily Routines

Oct 29: Individual Video Feedback Session 2 (IS)

Nov 5: Session 5, Take Out the Toys

Nov 12: Session 6, Expand Your Child’s Play: Add Communication and Friends

Nov 19: Session 7, Bring on the Books

Nov 26:  Individual Video Feedback Session 3 (IS)

Dec 3: Session 8, Bringing It All Together

Program Fees

Special Introductory Price of $500 per family for the entire 13 week program


All sessions will be held at MONDO
426 Springfield Ave., Summit, NJ 07901

Program Registration

Please complete the form below to receive registration information

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Frequently Asked Questions

This program is appropriate for parents and caregivers of young children (birth to 5 years of age) who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or have social communication difficulties.  


Research has shown that involving parents is the most effective way to promote communication development in young children and that the language enriched environment that parents can offer their children on a daily basis can have greater outcomes then a visit with a speech language pathologist once per week. This program teaches you, step-by-step, how to facilitate your child’s communication and social skills naturally throughout your day, thereby becoming your child’s most important teacher.  Additionally, one of the greatest benefits of the More Than Words Program is the opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers in similar situations. However, the program is also highly individualized for each family. During each group session there will be an opportunity to personalize the information by planning together how to apply information to your child’s individual situation. The pre-program consultation, individual sessions and feedback session all offer extensive opportunities to discuss your child’s unique needs and practice using the strategies with your child.

We will provide you with a detailed statement of services provided for you to submit your claim directly to your insurance carrier. We suggest consulting your insurance carrier in advance for the specific benefits of your plan.

An assessment of your child’s speech and language development is a necessary part of understanding your child’s current stage of communication and developing goals to help them to the next level. As part of the pre-program consultation, Rachel will meet with you and your child. If you have a previous speech and language evaluation, you are encouraged to share it with Rachel prior to beginning the program.

No, we do not work directly with your child during the group sessions. Parents and caregivers attend the group and individual sessions to learn the strategies that encourage their child’s communication. Your child will participate in the pre-program consultation and the three individual sessions with you and Rachel. The More Than Words® program helps parents help their children.

Your group will consist of 3-6 families.

After you register, the pre-program consultation is an individual meeting with Rachel Cortese, MS CCC-SLP, a Hanen-certified Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), prior to beginning the first session in the program. Pre-program consultations will be scheduled at your convenience. The purpose of this consultation is for Rachel to meet you and your child, discuss the program in more detail, do an informal assessment of your child’s communication, develop and discuss communication goals for your child.   Rachel will also make a brief videotape of you interacting with your child. This tape is used to help both you and Rachel become aware of how you and your child interact and communicate together. The appointment will last approximately thirty minutes to one hour.

Over the course of the program you will have three individual visits at your home with Rachel, which will include videotaping and feedback. The individual visits and videotaping is an important part of the program as it provides parents and caregivers with the opportunity to learn the strategies that best meets the needs of their child.

Full participation in the program is necessary for you and your child to benefit from it. Because new information is covered each session, it is important to attend all sessions. If you need to miss a session, please let Rachel know in advance.

Prior to each group session, there will be a small amount of reading and you will be asked to practice what you learn with your child each week.

Families will receive the guidebook, More Than Words: A Parent’s Guide to Building Interaction and Language Skills for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Difficulties. It is included in the cost of the program fee.

At the conclusion of the program, you will schedule a one-hour feedback session at your convenience. During the feedback session, you will discuss your child’s progress and a plan for additional follow-up, if necessary. This session is included in the cost of the program fee.

The More Than Words Program is based on a large body of research that has shown that children learn to communicate within positive, meaningful interactions with their parents and caregivers and that, when parents become more responsive and sensitive to their children’s communication, the children’s communication skills improve. To date, there have also been three published studies on the More Than Words Program, which you can read about here.

If you are interested in learning more about the More Than Words® program, you can read more about it here. You are also encouraged to email or call with any questions and to attend an optional, free orientation session.

Complete the form to receive registration information, or contact Rachel directly: