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School Professionals Working with Children with Cochlear Implants

School Professionals Working with Children with Cochlear Implants

RATING: (4 out of 5 ears)
EDITORS: Patricia Chute and Mary Ellen Nevins
PUBLISHER: Plural Publishing Inc., San Diego
ISBN: #1-59756-013-8
COST: $49.95

REVIEWER: Anita Vereb, MS/CCC-A, Clinical Audiologist, University of Michigan Health Systems, Ann Arbor, MI

SYNOPSIS AND REVIEW: The authors give the readers an overview of cochlear implants past, present and future and address how cochlear implants have impacted the work of audiologists, speech language pathologists, teachers of the hearing impaired, early intervention providers, regular education teachers, and administrators. This book addresses the need to re-evaluate current professional practice when working with children with cochlear implants. Topics of interest to the readers include a chapter called “The Zone of Cochlear Implant Performance” which provides information on factors that affect individual benefit from a cochlear implant, including age of implantation and anatomical issues of the inner ear. The authors review the roles and responsibilities of the various team members involved in the care and education of children with cochlear implants. The book takes the reader through the basics of cochlear implant programming and the need for collaboration between the cochlear implant center, the child and his/her family, and the professionals involved in the educational placement. The authors discuss how implants have fostered improved outcomes in terms of speech production and speech perception, and indicate that professionals need to look beyond these factors and additionally monitor speech and language development. Topics that apply to overall literacy are also reviewed by the authors. The book includes a chapter on social development along with other chapters that discuss bilateral implantation, issues related to transitioning from sign language to audition, implantation of children with additional handicaps, and use of assistive technology in conjunction with the cochlear implant.

CRITIQUE: The number of children who receive cochlear implants is increasing, likely the result of many factors such as universal newborn hearing screening, improvements in audiological testing, and advances in hearing technology. Additionally, there has been a trend to provide cochlear implants to children at much younger ages than in the past. This book is an appropriate resource for students enrolled in college training programs and is also appropriate for school professionals who are new to the field of cochlear implants as well as those that have been working with implants for several years. The book addresses the issue that the procedures used to educate children with hearing losses have changed significantly over recent years. As the authors indicate, this book does not answer all questions regarding educational issues of such children, but does provide the reader with good references regarding this topic. One of the main strengths of the text is its emphasis on a team approach to educational management of the child with a cochlear implant and its discussion of the need for management of the needs of each individual child – what works well for one child may not necessarily work as well for a different child with a cochlear implant. This book encourages professionals to look at each child as an individual and to determine where the child falls on the “Zone of Cochlear Implant Performance.” They describe how important it is to continue monitoring the child’s progress in academics, auditory skills, speech and language skills and social development. This reviewer agrees with the authors that parents as well as professionals need to evaluate and adjust the child’s current educational placement if needed to allow the child to maxima the auditory potential of the cochlear implant. And just as importantly, the authors encourage professionals in the field of education and speech and hearing to re-evaluate and update their current philosophies regarding the education of children who are deaf and utilize cochlear implants. This book is timely in its publication as many professionals in the educational realm are seeking information that will help them better serve and meet the educational needs of children with cochlear implants.