Vocal development in young children with cochlear implants: Profiles and implications for intervention

David J. Ertmer*, Nancy Young, Kristine Grohne, Jennifer A. Mellon, Claire Johnson, Kristin Corbett, Kathy Saindon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article describes prelinguistic vocal development in 2 prelingually deaf children who received multichannel cochlear implants at 10 and 28 months of age, respectively. Methods: Vocalizations were recorded in half-hour mother-child interactions before and after implantation and then classified into three levels of development: precanonical, canonical, and postcanonical. Results: One child made rapid progress in vocal development after her implant was activated. The other child showed slower progress with continued dominance of precanonical vocalizations throughout the first year of implant experience. Increases in vowel, diphthong, and consonant diversity; the establishment of canonical vocalizations; and the emergence of postcanonical forms were found to be indicators of progress in vocal development. Clinical implications: Observed differences in the rate and completeness of vocal development between the 2 children suggest that some young implant recipients may need specialized intervention strategies to stimulate speech development. The rationale and procedures for implementing Short Periods of Prelinguistic Input (SPPI), a potentially useful approach for stimulating vocal development, are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Cochlear implant
  • Intervention
  • Speech
  • Vocal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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