Sign Language with Cochlear implants

  • Cochlear implant technology provides deaf children with “access” to sound. Observation and research indicates there is no “single profile” of deaf children with cochlear implants and that spoken language outcomes are extremely varied. Children obtaining cochlear implants have a range of pre-implant characteristics and post-implant expectations. While some cochlear implant users/students become proficient spoken language communicators, there are others for whom this is not the case. While cochlear implants may provide significant quantitative and qualitative benefits, it may not necessarily provide full access to spoken language for all children. Some children may start out using sign language as a foundation to early language development, with sign use diminishing as spoken language skills emerge. Some children may continue to utilize a combination of sign and spoken language. For young children, cochlear implant surgery does not typically occur until approximately 12 months of age. By the time the speech processor of the implant is turned on and the child has even a brief opportunity to access quality sound, at least 14-15 months of prime language learning time has passed*