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LENA Foundation Announces the Development of an Automatic Autism Screen
Date:3/30/2009

BOULDER, Colo., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The LENA Foundation announced today that its researchers have developed an automatic autism screen based on detectable acoustic patterns in the recorded vocalizations of children with autism. Based on a study of 1,227 day-long recordings of 76 typically developing children, 30 language-delayed children, and 34 children diagnosed with autism, the screen can distinguish between non-autistic and autistic children with better than 85 percent accuracy for children ages 24 to 48 months.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090210/LA69114)

"We're excited about the results and confident that our accuracy will increase as we collect more recordings and work with other researchers to optimize the technology," said Dongxin Xu, Ph.D., the foundation's manager of software and language engineering.

The automatic screen is a revolutionary new tool based on LENA System technology. The LENA System comprises advanced processing software and children's clothing fitted with a lightweight LENA Digital Language Processor (DLP) - essentially a small, unobtrusive digital recorder. Designed for use in the natural home environment, the DLP can save up to 16 hours of high-quality audio, capturing all of a child's vocalizations as well as adult speech and other sounds.

The LENA software partitions the audio recording into segments based on pre-defined acoustic features and categorizes each segment by the recognized sound source, such as the child wearing the DLP, adult males and adult females interacting with the child, and TV and electronic media. The child vocalization segments are processed again to produce a set of more than 40 acoustic feature categories. The screen uses this feature set to estimate the probability that the child's vocalization patterns are consistent wi
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SOURCE LENA Foundation
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