Academic journal article The Volta Review

Exploring the Impact of Spoken Language on Social Inclusion for Children with Hearing Loss in Listening and Spoken Language Early Intervention

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Exploring the Impact of Spoken Language on Social Inclusion for Children with Hearing Loss in Listening and Spoken Language Early Intervention

Article excerpt


Listening and spoken language is an established approach for young children with hearing loss, which has the ultimate goal of allowing children with hearing loss to achieve their full potential for listening and spoken language (AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language, 2013). Studies in the last decade have provided an evidence base for listening and spoken language early intervention, establishing it as a successful approach for young children with hearing loss. Specifically, it has been demonstrated that children who participated in this early intervention attained speech, language, vocabulary, self-esteem, mathematics and reading skills on par with peers with typical hearing (Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, & Houston, 2007, 2009; Dornan, Hickson, Murdoch, Houston, & Constantinescu, 2010; Fulcher, Purcell, Baker, & Munro, 2012; Hogan, Stoke, White, Tyszkiewicz, & Woolgar, 2008; Rhoades & Chisolm, 2000). Clinically, the achievement of these age-appropriate outcomes by commencement of formal schooling is frequently reported by early intervention providers, such as First Voice member centers. First Voice is the national voice for member centers in Australia and an affiliated center in New Zealand that provide listening and spoken language early intervention for children with hearing loss (

Broadening the Focus of Listening and Spoken Language Early Intervention

Organizations such as First Voice are increasingly interested in the holistic development of children, which goes beyond traditional listening and spoken language approaches. This includes the development of cognitive, fine and gross motor skills as well as social inclusion. Global development in these areas is important for maximizing the child's involvement in everyday life.

Social Inclusion of Children with Hearing Loss

Social inclusion, in particular, is increasingly identified by early intervention providers as a desired outcome for children with hearing loss. This outcome has been recognized in key policy documents (Council of Australian Governments, 2009; United Nations, 2006) and is acknowledged as having widespread impact on a person's life, such as on their mental health and economic participation (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010; VicHealth, 2005). The current limitations in studying social inclusion relate to inconsistent views as to what this outcome encompasses and how it should be measured (Jenkin & Wilson, 2009; Rose, Daiches, & Potier, 2012). This inconsistency may be in part due to the use of varying indicators of social inclusion across diverse fields such as economics, education and health.

A literature review was undertaken to draw together insights about social inclusion from both policy and clinical perspectives (Phillips & Hogan, 2012). In summary, from a policy perspective, social inclusion is predominantly measured using indicators of economic self-sufficiency and education (Gannon & Nolan, 2007; Lister, 1998). A focus has also emerged on a person's health and ability to access services based on the understanding that poverty, education, and employment have an impact on levels of physical and mental health (Marmot, Ryff, Bumpass, Shipley, & Marks, 1997), which in turn have an impact on social inclusion. Alternatively, from a clinical perspective the literature focuses on social interactions, school participation, and the way children with disabilities are included in these contexts (Davies, Davis, Cook, & Waters, 2007; Gordon et al., 2000; Jones & Frederickson, 2010; Kishida & Kemp, 2006; Koster, Nakken, Pijl, & van Houten, 2009; Lloyd, Waghorn, Best, & Gemmell, 2008; Nyberg, Henricsson, & Rydell, 2008; Phipps & Curtis, 2001; Rose et al., 2012; Symes & Humphrey, 2010).

A Model for Measuring Social Inclusion

From the literature review, a new model for measuring social inclusion for children with disabilities was developed based on five facets (perspectives) of social inclusion (Phillips & Hogan, 2012). …

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