UCL Psychology and Language Sciences



Communication interventions with pre-school deaf children

Dr Rachel Rees, Lecturer, PaLS, UCL


It is widely acknowledged that children who receive cochlear implants (CIs) at an early age need prompt habilitation to maximise their auditory learning potential and spoken language development (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2009). Stage 1 of a joint UCL-City University project involved a pilot survey to investigate communication intervention approaches for deaf children implanted between the ages of 0-5 years. All 15 cochlear implant centres (CICs) in England were invited to participate. Results showed that, for all the participating CICs, interventions involving families were central to their work. The main treatment approaches used included Auditory Verbal Therapy (www.avuk.org) , Hanen (www.hanen.org) and Parent-Child Interaction therapy (Kelman and Schneider, 1994). These approaches use a range of intervention practices, some of which overlap. Some practices involve intervention strategies that have found to be effective in promoting language development and, for other practices, there is less evidence for their efficacy.

In the present stage of this project we are aiming to describe the practices commonly used. We have developed a questionnaire to send to all professionals involved in communication intervention with families of pre-school deaf children. The questionnaire has been reviewed by a panel of experts (including academics, auditory verbal therapists, speech and language therapists and teachers of the deaf).

This presentation will describe the project and discuss the rationale for some of the intervention practices employed.

Link to slides


Kelman, E. & Schneider, C. (1994) Parent-child interaction: an alternative approach to the management of children’s language difficulties Child Language Teaching & Therapy ,10,81-94

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2009) Cochlear implants for children & adults with severe to profound deafness: Technology appraisal guidance. http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/12122/42854/42854.pdf