Critical Issues: Causes, Challenges, and Recommendations
Conference attendees participated in three workgroup activities throughout the conference to explore the following six critical issues in the field that are obstacles to implementing comprehensive educational practices for deaf children with cochlear implants. The workgroups provided an opportunity for conference participants to reflect on the cause of these issues and recommend high impact strategies to move the field forward in overcoming these challenges to provide improved services and strategies for deaf children using this technology. The critical issues addressed were:
- Critical Issue 1: Medical and educational professionals often do not recommend the full range of language and communication choices to families.
- Critical Issue 2: ASL/English bilingual education programs (and other programs inclusive of sign language) are typically considered as an option for children with cochlear implants only after the child is unsuccessful in an oral or mainstream program.
- Critical Issue 3: Professional services and educational programs do not adequately address the needs of children with cochlear implants who have additional disabilities and/or are from homes where English is not the language of the home.
- Critical Issue 4: There is an inadequate representation of a “Deaf” perspective related to children with cochlear implants.
- Critical Issue 5: Many educators and school administrators lack sufficient knowledge and experience related to cochlear implant technology, realistic outcomes, and strategies to address language and communication development.
- Critical Issue 6: Professionals supportive of including sign for children with cochlear implants are often isolated, without the support of a professional network for sharing experiences and strategies, and without funding for possible research and collaboration.