Beginning to Talk at 20 Months Early Vocal Development in a Young Cochlear Implant Recipient Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2001
Beginning to Talk at 20 Months
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David J. Ertmer
    Audiology and Speech Sciences Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Jennifer A. Mellon
    Audiology and Speech Sciences Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: David J. Ertmer, PhD, Audiology and Speech Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN 47907. Email: dertmer@purdue.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2001
Beginning to Talk at 20 Months
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2001, Vol. 44, 192-206. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/017)
History: Received January 24, 2000 , Accepted November 13, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2001, Vol. 44, 192-206. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/017)
History: Received January 24, 2000; Accepted November 13, 2000
Web of Science® Times Cited: 59

Early vocal development, consonant production, and spoken vocabulary were examined in a deaf toddler whose multichannel cochlear implant was activated at 20 months. Parent-child interactions were recorded before implantation and at monthly intervals during the first year of implant use. The child's utterances were classified according to developmental levels from the Stark Assessment of Early Vocal Development. The emergence of consonant types and consonant features were documented through listener transcription. Parent reports were used to monitor oral vocabulary growth. A large increase in canonical and postcanonical utterances was observed after 5 months of implant use, and these advanced prelinguistic forms were dominant in all subsequent recording sessions. Increases in the diversity of consonant types and features suggested that auditory information was used to increase phonetic diversity. It was reported that the child understood almost 240 words and spoke approximately 90 words after one year of implant experience. The combination of cochlear implantation at a young age, family support, and regular intervention appeared to facilitate efficient early vocal development and gains in spoken vocabulary.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by grants from the Deafness Research Foundation and the Purdue Research Foundation. We would like to thank Hannah’s mother and father for their enthusiastic cooperation. Thanks also to the cochlear implant team at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL. The efforts of Mary Dessande in data collection are recognized and appreciated. The insightful comments of Suneeti Nathani, Carol Stoel-Gammon, and anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. This manuscript is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Rachel E. Stark, whose efforts have contributed greatly to the understanding of vocal and communicative development in hearing and deaf children.
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