Beginning to Communicate After Cochlear Implantation Oral Language Development in a Young Child Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2003
Beginning to Communicate After Cochlear Implantation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David J. Ertmer, PhD
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Lynette M. Strong
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Neeraja Sadagopan
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: David J. Ertmer, PhD, Audiology and Speech Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47909. E-mail: dertmer@purdue.edu
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2003
Beginning to Communicate After Cochlear Implantation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 328-340. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/026)
History: Received June 18, 2002 , Accepted November 18, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 328-340. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/026)
History: Received June 18, 2002; Accepted November 18, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

This longitudinal case study examined the emergence of a wide range of oral language skills in a deaf child whose cochlear implant was activated at 20 months. The main purposes of this study were to determine "Hannah's" rate of spoken language development during her second to fourth year of implant experience and to estimate the efficiency of her progress by comparing her performance to that of typically developing children. Mother-child interactions were also examined to determine changes in Hannah's communication competence. Normal or above-normal rates of development were observed in the following areas: (a) decreased production of nonwords, (b) increased receptive vocabulary, (c) type-token ratio, (d) regular use of word combinations, and (e) comprehension of phrases. Below-normal rates of development were observed in the following areas: (a) speech intelligibility, (b) number of word types and tokens, and (c) mean length of utterance in morphemes. Analysis of parent-child interactions showed a large increase in responses to questions during the third year of implant use. Data from Hannah's first post-implantation year (D. J. Ertmer & J. A. Mellon, 2001) indicated that some early language milestones were attained quite rapidly (e.g., canonical vocalizations and emergence of first word combinations). In contrast, the current study revealed that progress had slowed for related, but more advanced skills (e.g., production of intelligible speech and consistent use of word combinations). These changes in rate of development suggest that any advantages for language learning due to Hannah's advanced maturity (or other unknown factors) decreased with time and increasing-linguistic complexity.

Acknowledgments
This project was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 1R03DC04226-03. We are very grateful to Hannah's parents for their continued support of this research. Thanks also to Mary Dessande for data collection and to Megan Greenya, Michelle Kinney, and Anne Knapke for their assistance in data analysis.
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