University of Edinburgh

Working with children with cochlear implants in sign bilingual settings

Presented on 17 January 2008

Cochlear Implanted Deaf Pupils; The Scottish Context

Eileen Burns

4-Year School Attainment Data (2000-2004), Ernst Thoutenhoofd

Where are CI pupils Educated?

(144 Full time placements) n=156

  • Mainstream school 57
  • Designated integrated provision 14
  • School with unit or resource base 48
  • School for deaf pupils 22
  • Special needs provision 3
  • Educated at home 1

Year Group Distribution of CI Pupils

  • 95.7% return rate
  • 105 primary pupils
  • Average age 3.02 when implanted
  • 47 secondary pupils
  • Average age 7.07 when implanted

table 1

Crosshouse CI Centre

  • Approximately 22 paediatric and 18 adult cases per annum.
  • Past year 60 CI procedures undertaken.
  • Aim to implant between 12-18 months old.
  • Upper limit 5 years for children with limited spoken language.
  • No limit for children who have developed functional spoken language.

Languages Used at Home and at School

  • Spoken language only, used at home for 80%
  • Spoken language only, used at school for 46%
  • 34% of CI pupils using signing in school but not at home.

table 2

Support Services' Language Policy applied to CI pupils

  • 67 pupils taught under a Total Communication approach
  • The services of 73 CI pupils allow for some BSL

table 3

  • 19 pupils moved from mainstream to other placements.
  • 6 moved from other placements to mainstream

table 4

  • 9 pupils with cochlear implants do not access education through spoken English at all. One who is in a fulltime mainstream placement.
  • CI mainstream pupils. 20% some level of sign-bilingual access is used.
  • In units resource bases and schools for deaf 56.5% make use of some level of sign bilingual access using BSL as either there first or second language.

table 5

Count us in: Achieving Success for Deaf Pupils

  • Does not single out cochlear implanted deaf pupils
  • Main issue: 'the impact of the cochlear implant programme'
  • Makes reference in good practice report:

1. The need for staff training to allow them to fully understand the implications of the impact on hearing and understanding speech.

2. Strongly advocating decisions about languages used by pupils being decided on need rather than policy.

3. Example of good practice-promoting achievement: signing being used with children with cochlear implants to improve the development of spoken language.

4. Professionals value English and BSL equally and this is reflected in advice given to parents.

CI pupils in Bilingual Settings:- a few issues

  • Mixture of pupils with different dominant languages.
  • Conflicting advice given to parents.
  • Challenge for services to meet the level of support needed in a mainstream setting.
  • Children coming to sign bilingual settings having been in mainstream settings.