Dec 2018 ASHAWire

The major purpose of this study was to provide information about expected spoken language skills of preschool-age children who are deaf and who use a cochlear implant. A goal was to provide “benchmarks” against which those skills could be compared, for a given age at implantation. We also examined whether parent-completed checklists of children’s language were correlated with results of standardised language tests and whether scores increased linearly with decreasing age of implantation and increasing duration of cochlear implant use.

Participants were a nationwide sample of 76 children who were deaf and orally educated and who received an implant by 38 months of age. Formal language tests were administered at age 4.5 years. The MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) instrument was completed by parents when children were ages 3.5 and 4.5 years.

Results: Based on regression analyses, expected scores for each age at implant were provided for 2 commonly administered language tests at 4.5 years of age and CDI subscale scores at 3.5 and 4.5 years. Concurrent test scores were significantly correlated on all measures. A linear relation was found that predicted increasing test scores with younger ages at implantation for all scales administered.

Conclusions:  While the expected scores reported here should not be considered as normative data, they are benchmarks that may be useful for evaluating spoken language progress of children with cochlear implants who are enrolled in spoken language–based programs.

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