A Smart Start

Article Summary:

Although many parents believe they spend more than enough time speaking to their children, they commonly overestimate how much they do so. Many parents overestimate how much their children listen, or are engaged in what adults are saying to them. LENA technology allows caretakers to understand the quality and quantity of speech between them and a child, giving them measurable data and benchmarks. The program, founded by Judi and Terry Paul, takes advantage of rapid brain development and language acquisition that happens in the first three years of life.

In Wisconsin, mother Stephanie Leskoviansky and other parents are strong advocates for LENA Start, after seeing results in their children. While the program provides parents with information about their child’s language environment, it also educates parents about the best way to facilitate communication with an infant or toddler. To maintain the privacy of families, the audio is only used to create reports and data for participants, and is deleted after the data is collected. With increasing publicity and positive parent feedback, LENA hopes to expand and further narrow opportunity gaps.