Working at a specialized clinic for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children, I participated in an evaluation of a 7-year-old girl with a history of profound congenital sensorineural hearing loss. Despite having received bilateral cochlear implants at 2 years old, our evaluation revealed significant language delay. Her vocabulary was limited to a few single words, and she was not able to communicate in full grammatical sentences. As part of her treatment, her parents had been instructed by her team of medical providers to avoid any sign language as they suggested it would prevent her from learning to speak. Instead, her parents were advised to be patient and allow her auditory rehabilitation to maximize her language development alone. For this patient, the lack of early introduction of accessible language may have contributed to her language delay. Unfortunately, this patient’s experiences with language deprivation are not uncommon for D/HH children.
  • Author(s):
    Spellun, A. & Kushalnagar, P.
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    Clinical Pediatrics
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Spellun, A., & Kushalnagar, P. (2018). Sign language for deaf infants: A key intervention for a developmental emergency. Clinical Pediatrics, 57(14), 1613–1615.