Language development in a bimodal bilingual child with cochlear implant: A longitudinal study

To address the negative effects of deafness on spoken language acquisition, many clinicians suggest using cochlear implant (CI) and oral education and advise against sign language, even when combined with spoken language (i.e., bilingualism), believing that it may slow down spoken language development. In a deaf child with CI who was exposed at an early age to Italian Sign Language and spoken Italian, we evaluated language development and the relationship between the two languages. The number of words/signs produced by the child consistently increased with age, and the vocabulary growth rate in spoken Italian was equivalent to that of hearing peers. Before CI, the child relied almost exclusively on sign language; after CI, he gradually shifted to spoken Italian yet still used sign language when unable to retrieve words in spoken Italian. We conclude that bimodal bilingualism may scaffold the development of spoken language also in deaf children with CI.

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Rinaldi, Pasquale
Caselli, Maria Cristina
Cambridge University Press., Cambridge, Regno Unito
Bilingualism (Camb., Print) 17 (2014): 798–809. doi:10.1017/S1366728913000849
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Rinaldi, Pasquale; Caselli, Maria Cristina/titolo:Language development in a bimodal bilingual child with cochlear implant: A longitudinal study/doi:10.1017/S1366728913000849/rivista:Bilingualism (Camb., Print)/anno:2014/pagina_d
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