Factors influencing grade 1 school placement and subsequent changes in school placement of learners with cochlear implants
Thesis (MAud (Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
Over the past decade an increasing number of learners with cochlear implants have been placed in mainstream settings in South Africa (Müller & Wagenfeld, 2003). The aim of the present study was to describe possible factors that influence the initial grade 1 school placement as well as subsequent changes in placement of learners with cochlear implants. Data collection consisted of a retrospective record review of the children implanted at the Tygerberg Hospital-University of Stellenbosch Cochlear Implant Unit and a questionnaire aimed at assessing parental perceptions regarding the basis of grade 1 school placement for their children. The record review incorporated children implanted in 1988, the year of inception of the unit and included the most recently implanted children who have already started grade 1. Results of the 47 participants indicated that multiple factors influenced the selection of grade 1 school placement. Recommendations by professionals and parental preference were the most important determinants in the selection process. The mainstreamed learners were implanted at a much younger age than the learners placed in special school settings and therefore had a longer duration of implant use at the start of grade 1. Subsequent to grade 1 placement, the number of learners in mainstream placement, increased from 55% to 70%. The aspects identified in the study could be utilised when counselling parents during the school placement decision making process. Long term monitoring of the academic achievement of these learners needs to be an aim of future research.