Do you know of the importance of talking to your child – before they reach the age of three? Interactive talk is crucial to early brain and speech development and Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur are part of a new tech initiative to support children with their speech.
As children present to practitioners, volunteers and parents with limited speech, concern is raised over their readiness for school and their early learning. For children who don’t meet the threshold for therapist support, this new tech method will support families to understand how to best encourage their child’s language development.
LENA (Language Environmental Analysis) is a tool licensed by Home-Start UK and your local Home-Start is one of the first to start to explore the initiative for local families. With school readiness an issue for some areas of the county, this new tool could help enormously. The child wears a “wearable tech vest” during the day to measure the number of spoken words the child hears- a clever word counter. The daily results are then analysed the very next day so that changes can be made immediately. The trained volunteers support families at no cost to the family.
The tech can distinguish between a human voice and digital, and adult and child. The word report demonstrates where there are quiet times in the day. The trained volunteer will encourage parents to talk, read, sing more using new words to increase their child’s vocabulary and understanding thereby closing the 30 million word gap. Trained volunteers use a coaching style with parents to keep them motivated and encouraged throughout the weekly sessions over 3 months.
Parents who tried the new tech said; “I didn’t quite realise how important it was to talk to my child as often… my son seems more content and enjoys the attention…the project has made me feel a lot closer to my child.”
Charlotte Simmons, Senior Organiser says; “The results from this new technique are quickly visible, parents are motivated to increase the word count week on week and children are benefiting immediately from the initiative. We are thrilled to be exploring this for local families struggling with their child’s limited speech”.
If you are interested in this new initiative or wish to donate funds to support local families, please call Scheme Manager and LENA lead, Bridget Richardson on 01903 889707 for more information.