To examine changing parent and deaf community perspectives related to pediatric cochlear implantation.
This research is based primarily on 2 nonrandom study designs. In the first study, conducted by the Gallaudet University Research Institute, Washington, DC, in the spring of 1999, a 12-page questionnaire was distributed to 1841 parents of children with cochlear implants; 439 questionnaires were returned. In the second study, we conducted 56 interviews with parents of 62 children with implants (and 1 without).
Parents of children with cochlear implants; Gallaudet University faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
While parents frequently receive conflicting information about educational and communication options for their child, they generally support signing before and after implantation. The parents of a child with an implant have a great interest in their child's spoken language development, and most would like to have had their child receive an implant earlier. Children with implants are educated in a variety of educational settings. Mainstreamed children with implants often continue to require classroom support services, and children with implants are frequently not isolated from both deaf and hearing peers. Parents have mixed experiences when getting information from persons in the deaf community.
Opposition to pediatric cochlear implantation within the deaf community is giving way to the perception that it is one of a continuum of possibilities for parents to consider. To ensure optimal use of the cochlear implant, parents need to remain involved in their child's social and educational development.