School placement is everything for children with cochlear implants. This explanatory piece is about an 11-year-old boy named Wyatt in the US, whose parents wanted him to have a mainstream education. Here’s what happened when he attended a school for deaf students:
Wyatt was treated as if he were a deaf child with a hearing aid who needed to learn lip reading and sign language instead of a child with a cochlear implant who needed to learn how to speak and understand spoken language.
Children with cochlear implants need to hear language spoken around them, for their own listening and spoken language skills. This did not happen in the deaf education placement Wyatt had, where he became a visual learner at the expense of his spoken language skills.
Wyatt’s parents however realised the situation and moved him to another school.
According to Psychological Science magazine, mainstream settings benefit preschoolers with extra needs by facilitating interaction with children who have stronger language skills.