Research has shown that implantation of congenitally deaf children accelerates their development of speech-based communication. Theories of speech and language development predict that earlier implantation should provide improved benefits and accelerated growth in speech and language development over later implantation. Additionally we should note that growth in speech production and language development is constrained as the child approaches adolescence.
The first study will continue to evaluate the outcomes of current and emerging practices of cochlear implantation. We have one of the largest longitudinal cohorts in the country and we will examine whether young adults implanted in childhood attain many of the social, occupational and personal outcomes as their peers with hearing. Additionally we will continue to investigate the processes behind reading achievement within children who have cochlear implants. This includes investigating the extent to which these children are able to develop a phonological code for processing the English language and then to determine how well they are able to use this information for speech, language and literacy achievement.
We will complete a second set of investigations. One aim will test for the effects of new practices concerning cochlear implantation with prior practices of implantation. This includes examining the effects of very early implantation and bilateral implantation on speech perception, production and language acquisition with what we have seen in children who were implanted at older ages and with only one implant. A second t aim will characterize the mechanisms and developmental processes that underlie speech perception skills of congenitally deaf children who receive cochlear implants. As we feel that the efficacy of cochlear implantation is no longer a question we will systematically evaluate developmental mechanisms of speech processing and word recognition used by pediatric CI recipients.