Pilot program monitors parent-child conversations, chatter could make kids smarter

Consistent chit-chat with your baby could speed up brain development, and researchers for the LENA Research Foundation are taking a closer look at that notion.

A mother-son duo from Athens – Rachel and Frank Giese – just finished up a session with the LENA Start program. Their conversations were recorded by a device 10-month-old Frank wore inside of a vest. 

The program puts an emphasis on targeted talking, so it’s not just idle chatter.

"How to talk about like math stuff with them," said Rachel. "And spacial references. Like, ‘Anthony is over there, and we are over here.’"

To see what kind of impact conversations like that would have, researchers would analyze the data based on multiple factors, including back-and-forth interactions, numbers of words, and the amount of electronic noise. 

They would then meet weekly with parents to discuss the findings.

Another session for LENA Start is set for the Fall. Researchers said parents will be able to sign up later this Summer. 

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