Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, and Reading in Deaf Children With Cochlear Implants

Johnson, Carol; Goswami, Usha
April 2010
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2010, Vol. 53 Issue 2, p237
Academic Journal
Purpose: To explore the phonological awareness skills of deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) and relationships with vocabulary and reading development. Method: Forty-three deaf children with implants who were between 5 and 15 years of age were tested; 21 had been implanted at around 2.5 years of age (Early CI group), and 22 had been implanted at around 5 years of age (Late CI group). Two control groups—a deaf hearing aided group (16 children) and a typically developing group of hearing children (19 children) —were also tested. All children received a battery of phonological processing tasks along with measures of reading, vocabulary, and speech-reading. Analyses focus on deaf children within the normal IQ range (n = 53). Results: Age at cochlear implantation had a significant effect on vocabulary and reading outcomes when quotient scores were calculated. Individual differences in age at implant, duration of fit, phonological development, vocabulary development, auditory memory, visual memory, and speech intelligibility were all strongly associated with progress in reading for the deaf implanted children. Patterns differed somewhat depending on whether quotient scores or standard scores were used. Conclusions: Cochlear implantation is associated with development of the oral language, auditory memory, and phonological awareness skills necessary for developing efficient word recognition skills. There is a benefit of earlier implantation.


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