New technology aiding parents and toddlers to communicate

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LENA is expanding to Auckland, New Zealand, in partnership with local campaign Talking Matters. The program is still in the pilot stages, but marks the first time LENA works with families in New Zealand. Four Auckland mothers were chosen to participate in the LENA program and have already seen positive results in their children’s engagement. Kylie McOnie struggled to get her two-year-old son speaking until joining the sessions, and now is excited to see Hendricks communicating with people around him. The program aims to bridge the talk gap found between children who grow with parents of differing educational levels. By tracking adult words spoken, conversational turns between caretaker and child, and other important patterns of communication, LENA technology is able to provide reports that help parents understand what they’re doing well but also what they could be doing better. Though the program is currently targeting English speaking parents, project managers hope to expand it to local Maori communities to encourage more early talk.

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