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Clin Linguist Phon. 2008 Jul;22(7):491-508. doi: 10.1080/02699200801899145.

From 1-word to 2-words with cochlear implant and cued speech: a case study.

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University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain.


This paper describes early language development in a deaf Spanish child fitted with a cochlear implant (CI) when she was 1;6 years old. The girl had been exposed to Cued Speech (CS) since that age. The main aim of the research was to identify potential areas of slow language development as well as the potential benefit of CI and CS. At the beginning of this research the child was 2;6 years (she had been using the CI for 12 months). Adult-child 30-minute sessions were videotaped every week for 1 year (13-24 months of CI use), and transcribed according to CHAT norms. Measures of phonemic inventory, intelligibility, lexicon, and grammar development were obtained. Part of the data were compared with data from two normally hearing (NH) children with the same mean length of utterance (MLU). In order to confirm trends observed during these 12 months of observation, an extra set of data was obtained in the next 3 months (25-27 months of CI use). Results in the initial 12 month period (13-24 months of CI use) showed irregular language development in the deaf child. The development of her phonemic inventory and lexicon progressed at a rate that was similar to, or faster than, that of NH children. However, the slow acquisition of articles and also the slow development of MLU suggested that the child might have problems with grammar. Data from the next 3 months (25-27 months of CI use) confirmed this trend. Results are discussed in relation to similar studies in other languages. Potential benefits of CS are also discussed.

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