Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access.

Poorna Kushalnagar, Gaurav Mathur, Christopher Moreland, Donna Jo Napoli, Wendy Osterling, Carol Padden, Christian Rathmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Around 96 percent of children with hearing loss are born to parents with intact hearing, who may initially know little about deafness or sign language. Therefore, such parents will need information and support in making decisions about the medical, linguistic, and educational management of their child. Some of these decisions are time-sensitive and irreversible and come at a moment of emotional turmoil and vulnerability (when some parents grieve the loss of a normally hearing child). Clinical research indicates that a deaf child's poor communication skills can be made worse by increased level of parental depression. Given this, the importance of reliable and up-to-date support for parents' decisions is critical to the overall well-being of their child. In raising and educating a child, parents are often offered an exclusive choice between an oral environment (including assistive technology, speech reading, and voicing) and a signing environment. A heated controversy surrounds this choice, and has since at least the late 19th century, beginning with the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Milan, held in 1880. While families seek advice from many sources, including, increasingly, the internet, the primary care physician (PCP) is the professional medical figure the family interacts with repeatedly. The present article aims to help family advisors, particularly the PCP and other medical advisors in this regard. We argue that deaf children need to be exposed regularly and frequently to good language models in both visual and auditory modalities from the time hearing loss is detected and continued throughout their education to ensure proper cognitive, psychological, and educational development. Since there is, unfortunately, a dearth of empirical studies on many of the issues families must confront, professional opinions, backed by what studies do exist, are the only option. We here give our strongly held professional opinions and stress the need for improved research studies in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of clinical ethics
Volume21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Hearing Loss
infant
Language
Parents
parents
language
Primary Care Physicians
Hearing
Sign Language
Education
Self-Help Devices
physician
Deafness
Linguistics
deafness
Child Welfare
Research
Internet
Reading
communication skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Moreland, C., Napoli, D. J., Osterling, W., Padden, C., & Rathmann, C. (2010). Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. The Journal of clinical ethics, 21(2), 143-154.

Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. / Kushalnagar, Poorna; Mathur, Gaurav; Moreland, Christopher; Napoli, Donna Jo; Osterling, Wendy; Padden, Carol; Rathmann, Christian.

In: The Journal of clinical ethics, Vol. 21, No. 2, 06.2010, p. 143-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kushalnagar, P, Mathur, G, Moreland, C, Napoli, DJ, Osterling, W, Padden, C & Rathmann, C 2010, 'Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access.', The Journal of clinical ethics, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 143-154.
Kushalnagar P, Mathur G, Moreland C, Napoli DJ, Osterling W, Padden C et al. Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. The Journal of clinical ethics. 2010 Jun;21(2):143-154.
Kushalnagar, Poorna ; Mathur, Gaurav ; Moreland, Christopher ; Napoli, Donna Jo ; Osterling, Wendy ; Padden, Carol ; Rathmann, Christian. / Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. In: The Journal of clinical ethics. 2010 ; Vol. 21, No. 2. pp. 143-154.
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