Phonological awareness, vocabulary, and word reading in children who use cochlear implants: Does age of implantation explain individual variability in performance outcomes and growth?

The phonological awareness (PA), vocabulary, and word reading abilities of 19 children with cochlear implants (CI) were assessed. Nine children had an implant early (between 2 and 3.6 years) and 10 had an implant later (between 5 and 7 years). Participants were tested twice over a 12-month period on syllable, rhyme, and phoneme awareness (see James et al., 2005). Performance of CI users was compared against younger hearing children matched for reading level. Two standardized assessments of vocabulary and single word reading were administered. As a group, the children fitted early had better performance outcomes on PA, vocabulary, and reading compared to hearing benchmark groups. The early group had significant growth on rhyme awareness, whereas the late group showed no significant gains in PA over time. There was wide individual variation in performance and growth in the CI users. Two participants with the best overall development were both fitted with an implant late in childhood.

James, D., Rajput, K., Brinton, J., & Goswami, U.
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 13(1), 117-137.
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Content Area: 
IDEA Disability Category: 
Instructional Support: 
opportunities to learn concepts
practice and reinforcement activities