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No More Sign Language For Deaf Children With Implants?

No more sign language for the Dutch Deaf children with implants.

LEIDEN, Nederlands -- The language development of children with a cochlear implant who only learn spoken language is faster than that of children with a cochlear implant who are also learning sign language. This is what Leiden researcher Karin Wiefferink concludes in her dissertation.

Monolingual environment may be better for development of spoken language: Wiefferink compared the language development of Flemish children with a cochlear implant (CI) with that of Dutch children who also had a cochlear implant, but who grew up in a bilingual environment in which they were learning both spoken language and sign language.

The study shows that the spoken language development of the Flemish children was faster than that of the Dutch children. What was remarkable was that the sign language of the Dutch children barely showed any signs of development once they had a cochlear implant. In addition, after a while, the Dutch children developed a preference for spoken language. These results suggest that a monolingual environment is better for language development than a bilingual environment.

Socio-emotional development: A second study from the dissertation shows that the socio-emotional development of children with a CI is slower than that of hearing children. A notable finding was that the linguistic development only played a minor role in this context. One possible explanation is that CI children are less aware of what is happening in their direct environment, because they find it difficult to follow conversations in a noisy environment. Wiefferink: ‘Access to the social environment therefore seems to play an important role in socio-emotional development.’... Read The Full Story.

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