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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2019 Oct;125:23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.06.015. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

Enhancing language in children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing using augmentative and alternative communication technology strategies.

Author information

1
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3333 Burnet Ave, MLC 5041, Cincinnati, OH, 45229-3039, United States. Electronic address: jareen.meinzen-derr@cchmc.org.
2
Division of Developmental and Behavioral, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3333 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH, 45229-3039, United States.
3
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3333 Burnet Ave, MLC 5041, Cincinnati, OH, 45229-3039, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite early identification and intervention, many children who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) demonstrate significant gaps in language development which can directly impact social interactions.

AIMS:

The objective of this pilot study was to determine whether integrating augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) core word language strategies into a speech-language therapy program for young children who are D/HH improves spoken language outcomes.

METHODS:

Eleven young children, median age 5 years 7 months (range 3y;11 m to 10y;8 m) with bilateral hearing loss were enrolled in a single-case experimental design and completed a 24-week intervention that incorporated high-tech AAC strategies into a traditional speech-language therapy model (technology-assisted language intervention or TALI). The goal of the TALI was to improve spoken language development in children who were D/HH. Language samples were collected throughout the study and pragmatic language was assessed pre and post intervention.

RESULTS:

At the end of 24 weeks, children demonstrated a significant increase in their mean length of utterance, number of words spoken, and mean turn length according to language samples. Children also made gains in their pragmatic skills pre to post intervention.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results of this study suggest that using AAC core word language strategies delivered via iPad technology may support continued and rapid spoken language skill growth among young school-age children who are D/HH. By leveraging AAC technology, we are pioneering a structured and dynamic approach to language learning, building an effective foundation for concepts and grammar for children who are D/HH.

KEYWORDS:

Augmentative and alternative communication; Deaf/hard of hearing; Intervention; Language development; Technology; Therapy

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