Speech and language development of two deaf young children
This is a case study of two deaf young children (who will be referred to as Child A and Child B) and how their journey as profoundly deaf siblings has progressed so far.
Child A (now 3 years 5 months old) was referred to the HI Service at five weeks of age with a profound, bilateral sensori neural (permanent) hearing loss. Having gained little benefit from hearing aids Child A received bilateral Cochlear Implants through the Midland’s Hearing Implant Programme at eleven months old.
The huge benefits of being implanted at this early age mean that Child A has now been able to listen to speech and sounds in the environment with cochlear implants for 2 years and 6 months.
During this time with ongoing family support child A has made exceptional progress with spoken language - language that is now age appropriate and in line with hearing peers, what a tremendous achievement this is.
Child B (now 1 year 9 months old) was diagnosed at birth and referred to the HI Service also with a profound, bilateral sensori neural (permanent) hearing loss.
Child B was implanted at the earlier age of eight months old and the benefits of receiving implants three months earlier than Child B’s sibling have been remarkable. Child B’s progress exceeds all expectations of a cochlear implant user after 13 months of listening to speech and sounds in the environment. The language development of Child B is also in line with hearing peers and followed a normal pattern of language development.
Hearing Impairment service involvement
Both siblings received regular visits from a Teacher of the Deaf to support the family with audiological equipment, promoting interaction, communication and language development using both speech and British Sign Language. Family support included tracking development, introducing them to other families with deaf young children through the Early Years Group, delivering training to Nursery staff and providing radio hearing aids to support access to speech at home and in the nursery setting.
Here are a few words from the parent of Child A and B:
‘The opportunity to receive cochlear implants at a young age means both our deaf daughters are now thriving in the hearing world.
At just one year from implantation Child B is already able to say approximately 50 words, of which the clarity of them can be understood by her older deaf sibling.
Hearing our young deaf daughters having a conversation with each other is truly unbelievable! I’m hearing but I have cochlear implants to thank for my favourite sound; their voices.’