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Arnold School of Public Health


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Early Language and Literacy Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss

Funding:

National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (5R03DC014535, PI: Werfel; 1R01DC017173, PIs: Werfel & Lund)

Aims:

Literacy achievement for children with hearing loss (CHL) who use spoken language is alarmingly low. Over 60% of early-implanted children read below an eighth-grade level in high school (Geers & Hayes, 2011), and literacy outcomes for CHL in general have not increased since the 1970s (Qi & Mitchell, 2012). It is vital, therefore, to take steps to optimize literacy outcomes for all CHL to ensure academic and occupational success. 

The ELLA study has three main goals:

Goal 1: Determine how literacy skills in children with hearing loss develop across the preschool and elementary school years.

Goal 2: Determine whether preschool early language and literacy skills/growth can predict later literacy outcomes.

Goal 3: Explore how children's knowledge of words and how words are related may influence early literacy skills.

Impact: This study will provide a better understanding about how early language, phonological, and orthographic skills develop and contribute to literacy achievement in children with hearing loss. The findings will help us to better predict which preschool children with hearing loss are most at-risk for literacy deficits, as well as identify areas of particular need for early intervention for this population.

Presentations and Publications from the ELLA Study:

Papers

Werfel, K. L. (2018). Morphosyntax production of preschool children with hearing loss: An evaluation of the Extended Optional Infinitive and Surface Accounts. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Online First, 1-12. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0406 Infographic

Werfel, K. L. (2017). Emergent literacy skills in preschool children with hearing loss who use spoken language: Initial findings from the ELLA study. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 48, 249-259. doi: 10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0023

Werfel, K. L., & Douglas, M. (2017). Are we slipping them through the cracks? The insufficiency of norm-referenced assessments for identifying language weaknesses in children with hearing loss. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 2(SIG 9), 43-53. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG9.43

Presentations

Reynolds, G., & Werfel, K. L. (2018, July). The relation of home literacy practices and emergent literacy skills in preschool children with hearing loss. Annual Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Brighton, UK.

Bassard, S., Squires, C., & Werfel, K. L. (2018, June). Above-average nonverbal intelligence as a protective factor in language acquisition for children with hearing loss. Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

Reynolds, G., & Werfel, K. L. (2018, June). The importance of early morphosyntax on later literacy outcomes for children with hearing loss: Initial findings. Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

Metze, E., & Werfel, K. L. (2017, November). Development of rhyme and initial sound matching in preschool children with hearing loss. Poster presented at Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Los Angeles, CA.

Werfel, K. L. (2017, July). Growth in emergent literacy skills of preschool children with and without hearing loss. Poster presented at Annual Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Werfel, K. L., Metze, E., Straley, S., & Todd, B. (2017, June). Growth in expressive language skills of preschool children with and without hearing loss. Poster presented at the Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

Werfel, K. L., Straley, S., Hendricks, A. E., Pemberton, S., Pound, A., & Douglass, L. (2016, November). Initial findings from the Early Language and Language Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss (ELLA) study. Oral session presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA.

Pound, A., Straley, S., Pemberton, S., & Werfel, K. L. (2016, November). Grammatical morphology in conversational language samples of preschool children with and without hearing loss. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA

Werfel, K. L., Straley, S., Hendricks, A. E., & Pemberton, S. (2016, June). Early language and literacy acquisition of children with hearing lossPoster presented at the Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.