Investigating Cognitive Profiles in Children with Hearing Loss.



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Background: Any degree of hearing loss may impact a child’s quality of life. A child with a hearing loss may experience communication delays and exhibit more difficulty in cognition and academics compared to a child with hearing that is within normal range. Consequently, hearing loss can disrupt both cognitive abilities and a child’s academic growth in areas such as reading, writing, math, social studies, and sciences. Children with mild to moderate hearing loss can lag behind their hearing peers and may function academically up to one to four grade levels below standard grade-level expectations. Purpose: The goals of this study were: (a) to determine whether students with hearing loss who qualify and receive services under IDEA display patterns of identifiable cognitive strengths or weaknesses, and (b) to determine to what extent differences exist between the cognitive profiles of elementary, middle, and high school students with hearing loss who qualify and receive services under IDEA. Method: This quantitative causal-comparative study used a survey to collect archival data on students with hearing loss. The participants included educational diagnosticians in a targeted school district. Participants responded to a survey about the cognitive profiles of students with hearing loss who qualified for and received services under IDEA. Descriptive statistics were used to address the first goal of the study. A one-way ANOVA analysis was used to address the second goal of the study, where the independent variables were grade level (elementary, middle, and high school) and range of scores, and the dependent variables were six broad cognitive abilities (G’s) of the Cattell-Horn-Carroll Model (CHC) model of cognitive abilities. Results: Findings of this study revealed that almost all students in the sample (at any grade) are functioning in the below average to average range on all cognitive abilities and are potentially struggling and require interventions. Patterns of performance emerged for the cognitive abilities when examining the data from individual students, that is, if a student performed at the below average level for one cognitive ability, the student performed at the below average level for the other cognitive abilities. The ANOVA analysis revealed no statistically significant differences between performance by grade level for students with hearing loss who qualified for and received services under IDEA. Conclusion: As the findings of the study point out, each student is unique and has unique strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, each student should be approached and assessed as an individual, and interventions should be designed to address each student’s unique needs. With this understanding in mind, an action plan was generated to inform educators and service providers about how assessments such as the CHC (which identify students’ strengths and weaknesses) and a students Full and Individual Evaluation report (FIE) (which make recommendations to service providers) are utilized to make recommendations for interventions for students with hearing loss.



cognitive ability, Cattell-Horn-Carroll Model