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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017 May 17;26(2):248-265. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0169.

Mapping the Early Language Environment Using All-Day Recordings and Automated Analysis.

Author information

1
LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO.
2
Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
3
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
4
Juniper Garden's Children's Project, University of Kansas, Kansas City.
5
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis, TNKonrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Klosterneuburg, Austria.
6
School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas.

Abstract

Purpose:

This research provided a first-generation standardization of automated language environment estimates, validated these estimates against standard language assessments, and extended on previous research reporting language behavior differences across socioeconomic groups.

Method:

Typically developing children between 2 to 48 months of age completed monthly, daylong recordings in their natural language environments over a span of approximately 6-38 months. The resulting data set contained 3,213 12-hr recordings automatically analyzed by using the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) System to generate estimates of (a) the number of adult words in the child's environment, (b) the amount of caregiver-child interaction, and (c) the frequency of child vocal output.

Results:

Child vocalization frequency and turn-taking increased with age, whereas adult word counts were age independent after early infancy. Child vocalization and conversational turn estimates predicted 7%-16% of the variance observed in child language assessment scores. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) children produced fewer vocalizations, engaged in fewer adult-child interactions, and were exposed to fewer daily adult words compared with their higher socioeconomic status peers, but within-group variability was high.

Conclusions:

The results offer new insight into the landscape of the early language environment, with clinical implications for identification of children at-risk for impoverished language environments.

PMID:
28418456
PMCID:
PMC6195063
DOI:
10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0169
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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