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LENA Foundation Technology Measures Effectiveness of Autism Therapy
Date:2/23/2009

BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The non-profit LENA(TM) Foundation, which develops technology for the improved treatment of autism and other language disorders, has released two case studies showing how the breakthrough LENA system is being used to improve autism treatment. The LENA software enables the clinician to measure adult word counts, child vocalizations, and conversational turns at 5-minute and hourly intervals over the course of an entire day. The studies show two examples of how LENA can be used to improve the treatment of autism by monitoring fidelity of treatment and by providing parents immediate feedback regarding how well they are succeeding implementing the treatment protocol recommended by the clinician.

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In the first case study, LENA was used to monitor the natural home language environment of a child at around 12 months of age before the child had been diagnosed with autism. Adult words directed at the child were at the 14th percentile level. One year later this same child was diagnosed with autism and the parents were instructed in a treatment regime designed to increase talk and conversational turns. Based on recordings completed a few months after starting treatment, these parents had raised their average word counts to the 70th percentile, on some days exceeding the 95th percentile.

(see Figure 23)

In the second case study, LENA was used to measure adult word counts during and after therapy for a 29 month old child diagnosed with autism. In this case study, half of the total adult speech in the child's environment on the therapy day occurred during the two hours of treatment clearly demonstrating the efficacy of the treatment regime.

(see Figure 24)

These case studies provide a glimpse of how the LENA System can be used to monitor and improve the effectiveness of autism therapy in clinical and home settings.

The LENA System offers the opportunity to:

  • Capture the natural language environment of the child in terms of adult word count, conversational turns, child vocalizations, and amount of TV exposure
  • Monitor the fidelity of treatment and measure progress with reports and graphs that are in-depth, intuitive, and easy to understand
  • Take advantage of the monitoring ability of LENA to fully understand the complexities of the child's audio environment
  • Use valuable feedback on parents' word counts and conversational turns to enhance treatment

For more information on the LENA System visit www.lenafoundation.org.

About LENA Foundation

LENA Foundation is dedicated to developing advanced technology for the early screening, diagnosis, research, and treatment of language delays and disorders in children, including autism. Philanthropists Terry and Judi Paul formed the not-for-profit organization through a gift of the LENA technology, cash and other assets valued at $32 million. A group of scientists and researchers developed the LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis) System in a five year research and development effort. LENA is the first device which can automatically and inexpensively measure the quality of a child's natural home language environment providing percentile scores for adult words, conversational turns, and child vocalizations and automatically measuring the child's expressive language development based on the child's voice print. More than 25 different metrics are available to clinicians and researchers. The Foundation employs a team of scientists who are skilled in computerized speech and speaker recognition, microelectronics, statistical research, and children's language acquisition and development; they are passionately devoted to helping the Foundation enhance language development worldwide.


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SOURCE LENA Foundation
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