What We Have Learned
We are recognizing that there can be many factors impacting a child’s progress. Cognitive ability is important in helping children progress in their language and self-help skills. This aspect of a child’s learning profile is more important than a specific disability label. For example, children with cerebral palsy can have a wide range of skills, but the biggest predictor of higher skill development is their problem solving abilities.
We’ve observed that a child who is deaf/hoh with an additional disability has better life skills if they display equal amounts of language progress as problem solving progress compared to a child whose language lags behind his/her problem solving abilities. This is true for all children who are deaf or hard of hearing, with and without additional disabilities.
It is important to understand a child’s capabilities in order to strive for appropriate therapy goals and help children meet their individual potential.
We are focusing on functional communication in children who are deaf/hoh using implants, hearing aids, or no amplification and are expanding our work to better understand the needs and effective interventions for children who are deaf/hoh with an autism spectrum disorder.