Word learning in Italian preschool children with cochlear implants

Majorano, M., Guerzoni, L., Murri, A., Guidotti, L., Morelli, M., & Cuda, D. (2017). Word learning in Italian preschool children with cochlear implants. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 16,157-163. doi: 10.1515/ijdhd-2016-0016

Abstract. The aim of this study was to assess word learning in Italian preschool children with cochlear implants (CIs). Fifteen children with CIs (CI-group) and two groups of typically developing (TD) children, one age-matched group (CATD-group) and one of the same hearing age (HATD-group), participated in the study. A word-learning task was assigned to each child in which the numbers of correct, incorrect and absent responses were considered, both for comprehension and production. The learning procedure comprised eight nonwords and the children were tested immediately (fast mapping) and after 2 h (retention). In the word-learning task, the children with CIs displayed lower scores than the CATD-group and higher scores than the HATD-group both for comprehension and production and for fast mapping and retention. Fast mapping (comprehension and production) is significantly related to the children’s age at CI activation, while in the retention phase the correlation is significant only for comprehension. Although children with CI display slight limitations in word learning relative to age-matched children, the limitation is less severe with earlier CI activation.