|Click the above picture to go to the
Cochlear Implant Simulation
on Speech & Music
To be linked with the other posts in the series, start here.
Review the 3rd post in this series:
2) Pre-Lingual CI Recipient, under the age of 36 months
Language Development Domain
3) Pre-lingual CI Recipient, age 3 (36 months) and older
Language Outcomes After Cochlear Implantation (58 references included)
When researching the CI prior to adopting the deaf child, three equally important things to remember for the deaf child you desire to adopt are shared below. These three factors MUST be foremost in your mind as you sift through the research for the CI.
1) Language Acquisition – Rarely are the brains of the adopted deaf child in the prime age of language learning from 6 months to just under 36 months (3 years) when they are adopted. In fact, most are over 3 or 4 yrs of age and some are as old as 10.Yes, some deaf/HOH children are available for adoption, with no exposure to language at all even at the age of 10. Keep in mind, the time span between 6 months and 36 months is the “full developmental process” for language learning. There is nothing magical about simply being under 36 months when the deaf child receives the CI. The vast majority of adopted deaf children are beyond the “optimal time”, according to their brains, to “master” language. This does not mean they cannot learn language, but it does mean the process will be laborious and take many years of training.
Understanding the Importance of Neurotransmitters
Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development
Review the 5th post in this series:
“Why Is The Deaf Child So Far Behind the Hearing Child?”
What Is the Best & Quickest Way to Learn ASL?
- I understand my child will hear sounds, but will he/she be able to understand what is heard clear enough so they can begin speaking clear enough to function “normally” in a hearing world? If so, how long with this process take?
- Will my child need additional support(s), in addition to the CI, to reach their highest possible functioning level within the hearing world? If so, what are they?
- What is the average number of years it takes for an older deaf/HOH child (over the age of 3), following implantation to begin to speak in full sentences accurately and being fully understood by others and with an age-appropriate level of comprehension?
- How long will the CI last? Will it need to be replaced?
- Will my insurance cover the CI surgery AND all the needed therapies and trainings that are required for optimum listening & speaking development?
- Could the fact my adopted deaf/HOH child’s brain has been traumatized by neglect and institutionalization sabotage the best possible outcomes provided by a CI?
- Will you allow us to still use sign language with our deaf/HOH child after implantation(some programs will not)?
- Am I willing and able to commit the time needed to ensure my implanted deaf/HOH adopted child receives every required external resource (listening and speaking skills therapies & trainings), IF they are available in my area, whereby granting them the best environment for developing the highest possible outcomes achievable for them, whatever that is?
Last, but certainly not least, is the question of the whole child. How will the CI affect the whole child cognitively, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? The CI requires years of training and therapies for communication (listening and speaking skills) to develop, how will that impact the adopted deaf child’s ability to connect and bond with hearing family members and beyond? How will the CI affect them as they grow into adulthood?
I strongly recommend you interview at least 4 adult CI recipients that were implanted after the age of 3 and more specifically those who had no access to language (no hearing aides or speech training) prior to implantation, this will give the best comparison. However, unless they were adopted, with traumatized brain development, the comparison will still not be equal.
Always remember the adopted deafchild is unique in their history & trauma, in their personality, in their drive to achieve and/or please, in their ability to stay on task, in their ability to not only endure the countless hours needed for listening and speech trainings and therapies, but also learn from them.
Signs for Hope believes it is the right of every deaf child to be given the opportunity to learn sign language as their first mode of communication. Having sign language as a base for communication, not only for bonding between parents and the adopted deaf child, in a timely manner, will also guarantee a continuous mode of communication should the CI not provide the desired and needed fully-functioning access to their “hearing” world years later.
If you have additional questions and would like to contact me, Becky Lloyd, please do not hesitate to do so. I may not know the answers to your questions, but we can discover them together.
I pray the above information has helped to give a much broader picture of the CI and the “adopted” deaf child. The decision to implant or not to implant is rarely an easy one, as some may mistakenly believe. Instead, it is one that requires much time and patience to gain the full knowledge necessary to make wise decisions for each deaf child.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.~James 1:5-8