Objectives: Cochlear-implanted deaf children having additional disabilities may develop speech perception and language skills at a slower pace than their implanted peers without such disorders. Nevertheless, it has been shown that, even for these special cases, cochlear implantation (CI) provides benefits for a larger range of neuropsychological functions including social and relational skills. These benefits are frequently mentioned by parents, but rarely objectively measured by tests. This article presents a new evaluation tool aimed at assessing the global benefits offered by CI in these special cases. Design: The new tool has been designed as a closed-format questionnaire, divided into five areas. It is based on observing the frequency of preselected behaviors in daily activities, which imply specific social, neuropsychological, and perceptual skills. The questionnaire has been presented to the parents of 50 deaf children with additional disabilities, before and at least 6 months after CI. Results: The data show significant improvements in all investigated areas. However, not all skills improve in the same way, and only those skills related to language and communication correlate positively with time after implantation. The present article further discusses changes in skills for which parents have higher expectations, such as the preferred communication mode, speech intelligibility, and the ability to communicate on the telephone. Conclusions: The questionnaire has a simple-to-use format, and it has been proven to be sufficiently sensitive for the detection of changes in each examined area. Because the questionnaire is based on observed behaviors, it can be used even when other existing tests involve tasks that are too complex for these children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing