Training-Induced Language and Literacy Improvement in Children with Cochlear Implants

Project: Research project

Project Details


Children who use a cochlear implant (CI), lag behind their normal hearing (NH) peers on measures of speech perception and production as well as language use (e.g., Geers et al., 2009). This delay results in a special population who require additional resources to master language and literacy at levels equivalent to age-matched children with normal hearing (NH, e.g., Geers, 2002). To address these delays in language and literacy, we propose to address children who use CIs’ known deficits in phonological awareness (PA; James et al., 2008, 2009) and working memory (WM; Burkholder & Pisoni, 2003; Pisoni & Cleary, 2003). Research into children with NH’s language and literacy development has indicated that performance on PA and WM tasks predicts language and literacy performance (e.g., Bowey, 1999; Gathercole, 1999). Similarly, children with NH who score poorly on measures of language and literacy have been shown to have weak PA and WM skills (e.g., Adams et al., 1997; James et al., 2008). These data suggest that PA and WM provide a foundation for language and literacy development. We hypothesize that training to improve children who use CIs’ PA and WM will strengthen their foundation for language and literacy, leading to improved performance on measures of language learning. Computer-based interventions purport to improve PA and WM, but these programs have yet to be shown effective in children with CIs. The proposed research aims to determine the efficacy of computer-based training for PA (Earobics, Houghton-Mifflin, Evanston, IL) and WM (Cogmed, Pearson Education) in early-elementary children with CIs. We will determine if training leads to improvement on standardized measures of PA and WM. We will also evaluate the hypothesis that these programs will improve language and literacy gains following treatment. Finally, we will determine if a combined PA-WM approach is more effective for improving language and literacy than PA-only or WM-only training.
Effective start/end date7/1/166/30/22


  • Florida State University (R01834 // R324A160193)
  • Institute of Education Sciences (R01834 // R324A160193)


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