Even before babies can speak, talk plays an important role in later language development. Dr. Jill Gilkerson at LENA discusses Hart and Risley as well as many other studies indicating that the quality of talk in the early years influences cognitive development. Frequently, it is also an accurate predictor of school readiness. In order to give all children the best possible chance for success, LENA technology provides caregivers with measurable data about how they converse with their child. The LENA device measures the amount of adult words children experienced, the amount of competing electronic noise, and the number of conversational turns.
Through education and the use of objective feedback, LENA aims to teach parents that talk is valuable, even if children cannot verbally respond at first. By providing parents with these resources, the program allows parents to practice conversations that may not come naturally, and commit to speaking more with their young child.