What is it about?

Caregivers of young children with hearing loss make decisions about which communication mode/s and spoken language/s their children and family will use. Influences on decision-making about communication were examined for 177 caregivers of Australian children with hearing loss through a questionnaire. Qualitative analysis was conducted. Four themes emerged. Theme one identified caregivers’ sources of information, including advice from professionals, family, and friends, as well as caregivers’ own research and preferences. Theme two related to practicalities of communication within the family and the community, as well as the need for one language or communication mode to be acquired before another was introduced. Theme three described the influence of children's individual characteristics on caregivers’ decision-making, including children's ability to access speech through audition, communication skills, additional disabilities, and children's own preferences about communication. Theme four was about caregivers hopes for their children's future lives, specifically fostering a sense of belonging, creating future opportunities and successes, and giving children the opportunity to choose their own method of communication.

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Why is it important?

The findings can assist families and professionals to make informed decisions about children's communication.

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This page is a summary of: ‘Part of Our World’: Influences on Caregiver Decisions about Communication Choices for Children with Hearing Loss, Deafness & Education International, November 2013, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1179/1557069x13y.0000000026.
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