Rachel DiNaso recently completed the Advanced Research Experience Seminar (ARES) program under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy Scherer. Through the ARES program, Rachel was interested in developing a deeper understanding of how language environment affects children’s language development over time. Rachel studied children’s language use across different language environments (i.e., home setting, preschool language group setting) and activities using the Language Environmental Analysis (LENA) recorder. Rachel was interested in determining which activities promoted child vocalizations in the preschool language group and in the home setting. Rachel’s ARES project collected follow-up speech and language assessment data and language use data for participants with suspected speech and language delay.
Rachel presented the results of her ARES project at the 2016 Department of Speech and Hearing Science Research Day. Rachel found that toddlers used the most language, as measured by the Child Vocalization Count using the LENA recorder, during unstructured play activities. Meanwhile, the children’s parents and caregivers at the preschool language group used the most language, as measured by Adult Word Count using the LENA recorder, during routines and general play. These contexts are often used clinically to train parents in language facilitation strategies. Using the LENA recorder permitted analysis of children’s typical language environment throughout the day and provided information about language use across activities and settings.
Congratulations to Rachel on a successful ARES project and presentation!