Date of Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
Speech Pathology and Audiology
J. Bruce Tomblin
Objective. As a result of newborn hearing screenings, an increasing number of infants are being identified with a hearing loss at birth or within a few months of life. The literature supports that early identification in conjunction with early intervention services have led to drastic improvements in speech and language outcomes for children who have a received a cochlear implant (CI). The purpose of this study was to investigate the amount, type, and quality of services that young children with CI(s) are receiving.
Methods. Participants in this study included 22 teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing (TD/HH), 7 speech-language pathologists (SLP), and 4 early childhood interventionists (ECI). All of the service providers were serving at least one child with a CI(s) at the time of the study. Three on-line service provider surveys were modified from the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS) in order to specifically address the concerns and interests of service provision for children with CIs. The three surveys addressed the birth-3, preschool, and school-age populations.
Results. Results from the birth-3 and preschool populations with CIs were analyzed. The school-age population was not analyzed due to the low response rate from that age group. Findings from this study revealed that the TD/HH is the primary service provider for the birth-5 population with CIs. In addition, other service providers (i.e. SLP, ECI) reported that they do not feel completely comfortable working with the CI device (i.e. troubleshooting, utilizing the Ling Six Sound test). Another area of concern was the child's compliance in wearing the CI on a full-time, daily basis. Collaboration and education among professionals and the families of children with CIs must be stressed in order for early intervention services to effectively facilitate the child's speech, language, and educational development.
Conclusion. The results revealed characteristics specific to both the child (i.e. services the child has received in the past 6 months as part of his/her intervention program) and the service provider (i.e. amount of professional education concerning children with CIs). More research is needed to assess the relationship between the amount and quality of service provision and the child's speech and language performance to ensure that this population is receiving appropriate early intervention services.
Copyright 2011 Tara Gjerstad