"Infants Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, With and Without Physical/Cognitive Disabilities"

Meadows-Orlans, Kathyryn P., Smith-Gray, Sybil, & Dyssegaard, Birgit. (1995). Infants Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing,

With and Without Physical/Cognitive Disabilities. American Annals of the Deaf, 140, 279-286.

"Approximately one-third of all children receiving special education services because of diminished hearing have cognitive deficits or behavioral problems." Even though there is such a high number of multiple disabilities within this population there is a lack of research in the area of behavioral or interactional consequences of additional disabling conditions. This paper addresses the effects of deafness on early social, cognitive and linguistic development. The authors studied 25 deaf or hard of hearing infants all with normally-hearing mothers. Out of the 25, five were multiply handicapped, 10 had medical histories that placed them at risk for additional handicaps, and the remaining 10 infants were not specifically at risk for additional handicaps. With exception to the 5 MH infants, the remaining 20 were matched with 20 normally hearing infants for sex and mother's education. Data was collected using the PSI (Parenting Stress Index), and video taping mother-infant interactions to analyze: mother's behaviors, children's behaviors, and dyads. In mother infants interactions the mother's behaviors for normally hearing infants had higher ratings than the three groups of hearing impaired infants none of which is different from any other. The differences between the group of infants was more pronounced than for the groups of mothers. Infants in the HI-MH group ranked the lowest, followed by the HI-AR infants, then by HI-NR infants, and the HG infants ranked the highest. Dyadic ratings showed the greatest differences among the groups. HI-MH and HI-AR ranked below the HI-NR dyads and these 3 groups all ranked below the HG dyads. The PSI showed no overall differences among the four groups of mothers.

Implications for Intervention: For the five infants with multiple handicaps, deafness is more than likely to be a secondary focus. These infants require several different kinds of experts. Problems may emerge from lack of communication between professionals as well as between professionals and different family members. A "case manager" becomes a necessary ingredient in such situations. In addition, a holistic approach to implementing and developing the IFSP is also a necessary factor. All of the infants that participated in this study all came from relatively similar environments, yet their medical biographies, their particular temperaments and motor capabilities all require individualized programs. "All of this reinforces the mandate of Public Law 99-457 requiring an IFSP for young children with disabilities".

Uploaded by: Jessica Soltesz/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major