Outcomes of early intervention for deaf children with additional needs following an Auditory Verbal approach to communication.Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Dec; 115:125-132.IJ
To determine and compare the rates of progress made by pre-school aged children with all degrees and types of hearing impairment and deafness, both with and without additional needs as catalogued using SNOMED CT, at the end of a non-statutory programme of individualised Auditory Verbal (AV) intervention.
An audit was conducted using a retrospective and comparative study design to examine spoken language outcomes in children who had spent more than two years on an AV programme and had completed their programmes between January 2007 and December 2017. The children were stratified according to i) whether they achieved age appropriate language (AAL) (n =102) or not (n =27); ii) whether they had deafness alone (n = 77) or deafness with additional needs (n =52); and iii) whether children with additional needs achieved AAL (n= 27) or not (n =25). Children undertook standardised spoken language assessments on joining the AV programme and then at intervals of at least 6 months for the duration of their programme. Derived measures of rates of language development (RLD) were used to compare the groups at i) the outset (initial RLD), and ii) the conclusion of the AV programme (programme RLD).
Overall, 79% of children within this cohort achieved age appropriate spoken language scores. Children with additional needs (40%) embarked on a non-statutory AV programme at a significantly older age (corrected for prematurity), with significantly lower initial RLD and, as a group, attained significantly lower programme RLD compared with children with deafness alone. One in two of the children with additional needs reached AAL by the end of their individualised programme. The children with additional needs also demonstrated a highly significant increase in their mean programme RLD compared with the mean initial RLD indicating an acceleration in acquiring spoken language competencies while on the AV programme.
For deaf children with additional needs who stay on an AV programme for more than two years, listening and spoken communication is significantly enhanced. Specific access to the AV approach in addition to generic, statutory early intervention could facilitate deaf children with additional needs to achieve or approach AAL. Ensuring families have access to effective early intervention increases the chances that i) a suitable communication approach is adopted at the earliest opportunity, and ii) a child with additional needs acquires listening and spoken language at a rate commensurate with their full potential. Applying the SNOMED CT framework as a means of categorising children's additional needs will enable more effective comparisons across studies from different centres around the world.