LENA Language and Autism Screen (LAS) – The Next Autism Money Sink?

I’ve been on this autism journey for nearly three years now. Although my kids are older and have had “quirks” from birth, the first diagnosis wasn’t made until November 2006. For those that don’t know my history, I’m the mom of two children on the spectrum. My daughter was diagnosed with autistic disorder the day before her third birthday in 2006. My son was dx’d with Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS in the next year (difference of opinion). During that time, I’ve seen a lot of autism money sinks and when I read this article, I wondered if the LENA Language and Autism Screen (LAS) would be the next must-have (and expensive) device for parents of children with autism.

However, this is different. The LENA Language and Autism Screen (LAS) is designed to help parents screen their own children for symptoms of autism. Honestly, I’m a bit uncomfortable about this device. I feel that it is important for parents to understand the early signs of autism, as early intervention is proven to help dramatically in some cases, but I don’t feel that it is a parent’s place to screen and/or diagnose their own children.

It is imperative that if a parent is concerned, they see a licensed clinical psychologist, a developmental pediatrician, or contact their local school district or state early intervention office to request a thorough assessment. I understand the importance of giving parents the tools to recognize the early signs of autism, however I don’t feel that placing a $200 price tag on the tool is in the best interest of the child.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the device. Read the entire article on the ABC website and then head back here and leave me a comment (please!).

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. I’m very sensitive to the money pits that parents of kids with autism can fall into. This doesn’t seem that awful to me. It’s $200, yes, but it’s limited to a onetime purchase. I like the idea of the earlier diagnosis, if it’s possible.
    When I think back on my son’s early utterances I think he definitely should have raised many more red flags than he did. For all the early intervention he got and the therapeutic preschool, no attention was paid to his spectrum signals. I do think they were present; people were either just uncomfortable about saying so or they were just wrong. Anyway – I do see that some people would be panicked into purchasing this without any need. Others could be helped by it.
    I do like your mention of the money sink, though, which I’m constantly irritated by.
    Jill (http://www.blisstree.com/autismvox/)

    • Hi Jill,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m sensitive to money sinks so I find it helpful to hear others’ opinions about products. You’re right, $200 for a one time purchase really doesn’t seem that much (in the grand scheme of things). I like that this device may help raise awareness about the early signs of autism. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!