To Sign or Not? Advising Families of Pediatric Cochlear Implant Candidate

Response by Sue Schwartz

Sue Schwartz
Family Services
Montgomery County Public Schools
Programs for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Wolfson is in a difficult position since he is a new member of this team. He does, however, have an ethical responsibility to state his opinion. This should not be done in the presence of the family since this is not his case and he is only an observer. When the team meets he should state his own opinions about methodology and cochlear implants.

The child in question has a profound hearing loss and, therefore, will not instantly respond to the sound he receives from his cochlear implant. Signing could bridge the time between implantation and successful use of sound. Very often, the family is frustrated by an inability to communicate with a child with profound hearing loss and this could help the communication at home. There are significant numbers of children with implants who use sign language. The sign system should include hearing and speech.

Mr Wolfson owes it to himself, the family, and the child to state his convictions. The team that provides the habilitation, likewise, has to make the commitment to using the system that the family and the child have decided to use. It is the responsibility of the team to support the family in its decisions.

To submit cases or to be added to the list of respondents please contact: Roy Shinn, e-mail: [email protected]

ASHA Corporate Partners