Tuesday, January 15

Interesting Results From Dallas

Motor Development of Deaf Children With and Without Cochlear Implants
from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a cochlear implant (CI) on the motor development of deaf children. The study involved 36 mainstreamed deaf children (15 boys, 21 girls; 4- to 12-years old) without any developmental problems. Of these children, 20 had been implanted. Forty-three hearing children constituted a comparison group. Motor development was assessed by three standardized tests: the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, the K├Ârperkoordinationstest f├╝r Kinder, and the One-leg standing test. Results showed that the hearing children performed on average significantly better than the deaf children (whether or not using a CI). Regarding the use of a CI, there was only a significant difference on one subtest between both groups, although there was a nonsignificant trend for the deaf +CI group to score somewhat worse on average than the deaf –CI group. This led to some significant differences between the hearing group and the deaf +CI group on measures requiring balance that did not hold for the hearing/deaf –CI comparison. Although this study could demonstrate neither a positive nor a negative impact of CI on balance and motor skills, the data raise the need for further, preferably longitudinal, research.
January 14, 2008

This article just left me with just one questions - "Then why are we implanting?"


Dianrez said...

It's reassuring, in a way, that researchers are exploring the side effects of CI surgery.

Loss of balance is certainly something we need to know about, since it could have safety implications and considerations for surgical modifications and/or motor rehabilitation.

Why the CI, indeed? It's supposed to make hearing people out of deaf people. Do we truly know all the costs?

Li-Li's mom said...

I feel for you as a fellow adoptive mom -- as I'm sure you know, having been there before -- one of the traumatic parts of being an adoptive parent is that you are forced to accept and deal with as gracefully as possible all of the decisions and actions made by previous parents/guardians, institutions, environments that impact your child and her family (whether it be physically or psychologically/emotionally) -- especially if it's something that you may not have chosen for/with her, and even if it is something that you might have chosen, but after your own research and decision process.

I do wish that you find peace somehow as you research everything about your child's situation and what a CI can mean for her (both positives and negatives).

Keep in mind that this particular study stated that although it found that hearing children supposedly had better balance than Deaf (with or without CIs) its findings were inconclusive about whether the CI had an impact. So you should not let that unsettling cliffhanger of a study make you anxious.

But I think your initiative in researching the capabilities of the and the potential side effects of a CI is great (something anyone considering the implant should do), and is very critical in either coming to accept the CI for what it can and can't do for your child or take some medical action.

One thing though, the CI is not supposed to make hearing people out of deaf people -- my understanding is that it's just another tool out there that some deaf people can use to increase their communication options and learn to recognize and use speech. So if your expectation is that your child will no longer be a deaf child, you may be very disappointed.