“Beliefs and Attitudes About Deaf Education Among Families of Children with Cochlear Implants” 

Ananya Uliyar (Presenter), Sherise Epstein, David Horn 

Poster presentation: ACIA CI 2022 – May 18-21, 2022  


  Parental beliefs and attitudes about Deafness inform their decisions about communication methods, medical devices, and educational strategies for their children who are Deaf or hard of hearing (CD/HH). There is insufficient evidence to support recommendations for language interventions for CD/HH, which makes it challenging to establish evidence-based language interventions for CD/HH children who use a cochlear implant (CI). This study aims to determine if beliefs and attitudes toward Deaf education of parents of CD/HH children who use cochlear implants (CIs) differ from parents of CD/HH children without CIs. Another aim is to determine if parental beliefs and attitudes differ based on language intervention among children with CIs. We hypothesize that parents of CD/HH with CIs will have more positive beliefs and attitudes toward oral/aural education compared to parents of CD/HH without CIs, but that there will not be a difference in simple language development between groups. 

  Data were obtained from the Gallaudet Research Institute Early Education Longitudinal Study (EELS) which evaluated speech and language development of 3-5-year-old children with a pure-tone average hearing threshold of 60 dB+ in the better ear and no severe cognitive impairment. We extracted communication methods used among CD/HH with CIs and scores for the parental Beliefs and Attitudes about Deaf Education (BADE) scale and the Letter Say/Sign and Write scale. The BADE scale contains 26 5-point Likert scales within 4 subscales (ss): (#1) Literacy through hearing technologies, (#2) Difficulties for hearing parents to learn ASL (#3) Listening and spoken language, and (#4) Visual language and bilingualism. The Letter Say/Sign and Write scale tests a child’s ability to say or fingerspell and then write the letters of the alphabet with speed and accuracy. We used T-tests to compare mean scale scores by group.   

We identified 64 and 151 children with and without CIs, respectively. BADE scores differed between groups only for Literacy through hearing technologies (2.97≈“neutral” non-CI vs. 3.71≈“agree” CI), with the CI group reporting more positive beliefs about supplemental oral/aural language. There was no difference in Letter Say/Sign and Write scale by group. Among the five communication subgroups for children with CIs, we found 15 participants were bimodal bilingual, 5 that used sign language only, 20 that used spoken language only, and 24 either using sign supported spoken language or speech with cues. There were differences by communication subgroup for 3 subscales and non-ASL groups reported more negative views of ASL on ss2. There was no difference in Letter Say/Sign and Write scale by subgroup. Further analysis of these data is ongoing.   

These data show that positive views of hearing technology and negative views of ASL are more prevalent in parents who chose a CI and non-ASL language modality respectively. These holistic BADEs reflect the breadth of current evidence, though the Deaf perspective is likely overrepresented in this sample that’s more familiar with Deaf culture than the general population.