The LENA System in Parent-Child Interaction in Dutch Preschool Children with Language Delay
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Background. Parental responsiveness is essential in enhancing linguistic skills of language delayed children. Video recordings and/or language sample analysis of structured-play situations are often used for evaluation of responsiveness, but are time-consuming and not representative of daily parent-child interaction. Furthermore, background characteristics of parent and child influence parental responsiveness. At this moment an efficient tool for evaluating verbal responsiveness is lacking. The language environment analysis (LENA) system is an automatic recording device with accompanying software developed for analyzing language input in home environments. LENA might be an efficient tool for evaluating parental responsiveness. Aim. A pilot study to evaluate the usefulness of the LENA system for analyzing parental responsiveness during parent-child interaction in Dutch preschool children with language delay. Methods. A secondary analysis of fourteen full-day LENA recordings of parents and children aged 2;6-3;6 years attending an early intervention group. Sixty conversational turns were selected with LENA software and manually transcribed. The number of manually counted conversational turns was compared with LENA’s conversational turns count. Parental utterances were reviewed on responsiveness. The relationship between parental responsiveness and LENA output variables was studied and parental responsiveness was predicted from LENA variables and parent-child background characteristics. Results. Large variety between manual and LENA conversational turns count was reported. Parental responsiveness was fairly correlated with the number of initiations of conversational turns by the child. No significant model could be established for predicting parental responsiveness. Conclusion. LENA’s segmentation process could be improved to provide a more accurate conversational turns count. Despite the lack of a strong correlation between LENA output variables and responsiveness in this small sample, LENA might be useful in analyzing parental responsiveness because of its practical way of zooming in on parent-child interaction.