Repetition and language in children with CIs (Wang et al., 2020)

Purpose: Early language input plays an important role in child language and cognitive development (e.g., Gilkerson et al., 2018; Hart & Risley, 1995). In this study, we examined the effects of child’s hearing status on lexical repetition properties of speech produced by their caregivers with normal hearing (NH). In addition, we investigated the relationship between maternal lexical repetition properties and later language skills in English-learning infants with cochlear implants (CIs).
Method: In a free-play session, 17 mothers and their prelingually deaf infants who received CIs before 2 years of age (CI group) were recorded at two post-CI intervals: 3 and 6 months postactivation; 18 hearing experience–matched infants with NH and their mothers and 14 chronological age–matched infants with NH group and their mothers were matched to the CI group. Maternal speech was transcribed from the recordings, and measures of maternal lexical repetition were obtained. Standardized language assessments were administered on children with CIs approximately two years after CI activation.
Results: The findings indicated that measures of lexical repetition were similar among the three groups of mothers, regardless of the hearing status of their infants. In addition, lexical repetition measures were correlated with later language skills in infants with CIs.
Conclusions: Infants with CIs receive the language input that contains similar lexical repetition properties as that in the speech received by their peers with NH, which is likely to play an important role in child speech processing and language development. These findings provide the knowledge for professionals to coach parents to implement specific language intervention strategies to support language development in infants with hearing loss.

Supplemental Material S1. Coding protocol.

Wang, Y., Jung, J., Bergeson, T. R., & Houston, D. M. (2020). Lexical repetition properties of caregiver speech and language development in children with cochlear implants. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00227