Exploring Cascading Effects of Multimodal Communication Skills in Infants With Hearing Loss.

Research paper by Megan Y MY Roberts, Lauren H LH Hampton

Indexed on: 19 Oct '17Published on: 19 Oct '17Published in: Journal of deaf studies and deaf education


Infants and toddlers with hearing loss (HL) are at risk for developing communicative delays that can have a substantial lasting effect. Understanding child characteristics that may be targeted in early intervention is essential to maximizing communicative outcomes in children with HL. Among the most malleable predictors of communication skills include maternal responsivity, gestures, and vocalizations. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among maternal responsivity, prelinguistic communication skills and expressive vocabulary in children with HL. Based upon the results we propose a theoretical cascading model of communicative outcomes for children with HL such that gesture use may be associated with future vocalizations which may in turn be related to long-term spoken language outcomes. This exploratory model may be supported by the underlying transactional model of bidirectional language development that occurs through maternal sensitivity in the first two years of life. Additionally, parents of children with HL may be less likely to respond to a single mode of communication than to a combination of modes. This exploratory study provides a theoretical framework by which multimodal communication development in infants and toddlers with HL may be better understood, and suggests hypotheses for future research and implications for intervention practice.