Language outcomes for children with hearing loss

19 September 2017

2016 Outcomes Results for early intervention and student services

A question we often get asked is why should my deaf child learn to listen and speak?

There are different communication options for children with hearing loss, but at the Centre we focus on listening and spoken language, as we believe it gives the strongest outcomes and future options for children with hearing loss.

To ensure that parents are informed before they make the important decision on what communication option(s) they will use for their child we publish our outcomes each year. We hope this gives families evidence based information on which to base their decision.

Today we are delighted to publish the 2016 outcomes results.

2016 Outcomes: At a Glance

  • 72% of children formally assessed in Early Childhood Intervention achieved spoken language outcomes consistent with the general population. 
  • Within the Early Childhood Intervention Program 35% of children were unable to be assessed as they did not meet minimum language requirements for assessment. However, by the commencement of school 100% of the Cora Barclay Centre cohort met minimum language requirements and could be formally assessed according to international standard.
  • 79% of children formally assessed in Student Services achieved spoken language outcomes consistent with the general population. 

Who is included in the study?

We include as many children as possible when we calculate our outcomes. Only children who are unable to participate in standardised testing are removed from our results.

The Centre supports families from all walks of life and with very diverse disabilities and issues. Therefore, we expect to see a number of children fall below the average range. The factors that contribute to this are:

  • Presence of an additional disability
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background
  • Family engagement to early intervention and capacity to implement strategies
  • Presence of additional speech and language disorders
  • Length of time optimally aided with hearing aids or cochlear implants
  • Consistency of wear of devices
  • Age at diagnosis
  • Delay in commencement of early intervention

What do these results mean?

3 children with cochlear implants looking at a book with their therapist

These outcomes demonstrate that children who are deaf or hearing impaired and who participate in listening and spoken language early childhood intervention programs have excellent prospects of learning to listen and speak fluently which can lead to attendance in mainstream schools; completion of secondary education or other vocational pathways and ultimately attainment of high levels of social and emotional well-being and economic independence.

The results reinforce the critical importance of early diagnosis and early childhood intervention on listening and spoken language outcomes and the continuing need for ongoing intervention at school age to ensure any gaps in language are addressed. The data demonstrates that a higher percentage of students diagnosed after 12 months of age, and who are now in our Student Services group, are now performing with a standard score within or above the average range.

You can download the full report here. 


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