Julia is a 10-year-old girl with a cochlear implant and is in the process of getting a second implant in a few weeks. In this video interview, she is asked a series of questions from her older cousin. Julia presents with language development issues that are a possible result of her hearing loss. Julia does appear to be able to read lips and does have some sign language abilities. During the interview, if Julia did not hear the question, she would say “what” and look directly at her cousin’s face. There does appear to be difficulty with some syntax usage when forming sentences.
This is probably due to her hearing loss and the implementation of the cochlear implant. Julia, during the interview, did present difficulty using full sentences, however, she did show good manners when she offered her cousin a piece of gum. When she noticed that her cousin did not have a piece of gum in her mouth anymore, she asked where it was and “can I give you one more? “, it sounded like Julia wanted to give her last piece of gum to her cousin, but I think she meant one more piece of gum.
She said “I’ll give you last. Instead of “I’ll give one more piece. ” Also, when she described the taste of the gum, she referred to it as “strong sour”. Julia did show strengths in sign language and reading lips. She however dose seem to have a limited vocabulary probably due to phonological speech delay from a hearing impairment. Intervention and therapy will need to address this issue of phonology as well as syntactic structures of her conversational language. Children with hearing disabilities tend to make more phonological errors and substitutions than those without such disabilities.
However, research show that these students do develop the same phonological rules at a slower rate. When they do develop, they are similar to the same rules as hearing students. Kuder (2013) Similar to phonological disabilities, children with hearing loss have difficulty developing proper morphology and syntax. Some research has concluded that the developmental delays are so great that some syntactic configurations never fully develop. While cochlear implants may be of benefit in auditory perception and verbal production, there are still many that are not sure as to their efficacy.
Many factors such as the age of the child when the implants are put in, how much parental support and interaction there is post-implant insertion, and the level of speech therapy present determines therapy present determines the success of the cochlear implants. Classroom intervention for Julia will need to revolve around phonetic and syntactic development, social and peer support, and environmental support. However, to begin with, the teacher needs to be educated about the cochlear implants as soon as possible.
The teacher needs to be aware of the make, model, all the parts involved with the implants in case something goes wrong and the teacher needs to call support of troubleshooting. In addition to the physical hardware, the teacher needs to know and be somewhat familiar with the software, volume, and sensitivity. Have the student’s parents demonstrate the devise when it is working properly. Also, the parents can instruct the teacher on how to test the microphone and system sensors.
Remember that there are many different types of cochlear devises, so do not be afraid to inquire about the specific student’s implants. (Zombeck et al. ) To help improve Julia’s phonetic development, visual phonics will be a great addition to her speech therapy. Visual phonics is a system consisting of 46 hand shapes that correspond to 46 phoneme sounds used in the English language. Current research shows that Visual Phonics increases the speed and rate at which students learn phoneme awareness and letter/sound recognition.
A unique aspect of visual phonics is that it offers a way for students to see and feel where and how a sound is produced and encourages students to write phonetically at an early age by helping them to sound out words. There will be some additional training for the teacher to support the speech therapist. However once the hand cues are learned, this will be a skill that the teacher will be able to use for years to help other students struggling with phonics. Grammar and syntax can be addressed directly in the classroom.
If the Julia says something incorrectly repeat it for her correctly in a natural way. Be sensitive about not calling negative attention to her language. For example, if the she says “I goed to the store. ” The teacher should respond, “Oh you went to the store. ” When her speech or writing contains grammar or word order errors, show her in writing the correct form. When the teacher is working with the Julia individually with written or oral language, repeat the error and ask the her how the sentence sounds.
For example, the she says or writes, “I goed to the store. The teacher should say, “I goed to the store? Does that sound right? ” If the she is unable to correct it give her a choice. For example, “Which sounds better, ‘I goed to the store. ‘ or ‘l went to the store. “? And finally, for frequently occurring errors, build it into daily oral language lessons as practice for the entire class. One of the best way to improve Julia’s articulation, phonetics, and syntax is through positive peer role models and teaching strong social conversation skills. Children should be viewed as being actively engaged in their own learning.
To learn successfully, students with hearing loss need to acquire the required skills to participate with peers. Because children with hearing loss usually present with delays, the importance of social interaction is often overlooked. Yet, play, in the sense of productive, meaningful, and supportive exchanges with peers, is critically important. Mellon et al (2009) Placing children with hearing loss into classrooms alongside hearing peers ensures access to an intense language and social environment although supports are often needed to help them interact meaningfully with their peers.
A special focus on socioemotional development can provide the needed supports to make inclusion successful. Along with helping Julia build positive peer relationships, her teacher needs to be aware of potential bullying. Bullying is not about anger; instead it stems from intolerance towards differences. It can be hard to a child to understand the difference between ordinary meanness and bullying because not every mean situation is bullying. It’s important to help her understand that hurtful remarks and behaviors are not about something that is wrong or bad about them.
Instead it is the other child who is displaying inappropriate behavior. Finally, the learning environment needs to be set up in a way that builds greater chances for success. Julia might have a difficult time hearing not only the teacher but her peers as well. The desks should be placed in a way that everyone, peers and teachers are visible. However, because of the potential of the implants picking up ambient noises, during individual work time or testing, Julia should be in a quiet, non-disturbing environment so she can concentrate.
When classroom instructions are given out, the teacher needs to speak slowly, confirm understanding of the directions, and never have their back to the class while talking. The use of using student names when speaking to them will allow Julia to know who is talking and who to pay attention to. If available, the use of a classroom FM audio system and a pass around microphone will also help her to actively listen to whomever is speaking as will teach the class not to interrupt while others are speaking so everyone can hear what is being said.
Zombek et al (2009) As you can see from the video interview, Julia is a bright and happy young lady. Because she already has one cochlear implant in, the second procedure should be easier because she and her family know what to expect. She has demonstrated a basic grasp of the English language with a few developmental delays due to her hearing loss. With the post-surgery speech therapy and the school supports that she will receive, Julia has every opportunity to be successful in school as well as a productive member of society.