Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Controversial Study claims CI Kids do better without Sign

Ann Geers of the
University of Texas at Dallas
A controversial new study claims children with cochlear implants are better off not learning sign language. The researchers write, "Contrary to earlier published assertions, there was no advantage to parents' use of sign language either before or after CI." The study, lead by Ann Geers of the University of Texas at Dallas, looked at development of 97 children. They found:
Over 70% of children without sign language exposure achieved age-appropriate spoken language compared with only 39% of those exposed for 3 or more years. Children without sign language exposure produced speech that was more intelligible (mean = 70%) than those exposed to sign language (mean = 51%).
An editorial from two professors (Karl White of Utah State University and Louis Cooper of Columbia University) said the research was "well-designed" offering "credible and useful information" that "can help end the passionate but debilitating debates between advocates of signing and nonsigning." Read the full commentary here.

A limitation of the study that sign language advocates are likely to point out: The children in the study were from hearing families who were not native signers. Details of the study are in the journal Pediatrics.

Also of interest: AG Bell gave lead researcher, Ann Geers, its 2014 Volta Award for making "a significant contribution to increasing public awareness of the challenges and potential of people with hearing loss." Geers recieved the award along with colleague Jean Moog. They collaborated as at Central Institute for the Deaf and below is a video of them recieving the award.

2 comments:

Melow Meldrew said...

Only stating the reality that those of us who went deaf know for a fact, and why we backtracked on learning sign. It definitely DOES affect speech.

A Sanchez said...

As I read the study, the measures of audiological functioning were based on parent interview. Were there any objective measures of audiological functioning? Not all recipients of the CI have the same benefit from the implant, after all.