Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years with dual
sensory impairment (vision and hearing loss) who had received a cochlear
implant were recruited from across the United States to participate in an
evaluation of language skills. 115 children were recruited as study subjects
from a variety of settings, including state deaf-blind programs, Part C (Early
Intervention) programs, and clinical cochlear implant centers across 27 states
within the United States.
The International CHARGE Syndrome Conference, a meeting that
includes families and children with CHARGE syndrome was also used as a forum to
inform and families about the study for recruitment.
About the Study
2007-2009—Phase 1—recruited children with dual sensory impairment who had
already received a cochlear implant.
2009-2011—Phase 2—prospectively enrolled children who were in the process of
receiving a cochlear implant. Children in this group completed a pre-cochlear
implant evaluation as well as assessments at 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months
This is the first study of this magnitude to report on a
consistently and reliably administered language evaluation developed for vision
impairment in children and adapted for children with dual sensory impairment
post-implantation. The children included in this study were quite heterogeneous
and complex (only 14% with isolated vision and hearing loss), which is not
uncommon in children with dual sensory impairment.
Approximately 20% of children with dual sensory impairments reach
higher level receptive (following simple and more complex directions) and
expressive language abilities (speaking in simple or complex sentences)
post-implant. The remainder continues to perform at pre-linguistic levels of
communication. Higher developmental quotients are strongly associated with
higher levels of communication. This is not particularly surprising if children
have neurologically or cognitively based limitations, since this would also
impact their likely language progress. There are a number of children who can
hear and see but remain at pre-linguistic levels of communication based on the
severity of their disabilities.
Submitted for publication