Page 72

convey music, the children with CIs had similar amounts and types of involvement in music as their siblings with normal hearing. Perhaps the most valuable lesson learned from this study is the importance of parental attitudes (Driscoll, et al., 2015). Preschool children with CIs, who have more familial encouragement and exposure to music experiences in the home or in the community, are more likely to enjoy and have successful engagement with music. Fostering Successful Participation Because children with CIs vary on a host of factors (including hearing history, device type, familial environment, and personal interests), early childhood educators and practitioners will need to individualize music experiences for preschoolers with implants. The following four suggestions offer practical tips that may foster successful participation of young children with CIs in music groups. Finding practical resources for understanding and troubleshooting CI use There are three primary manufacturers of cochlear implants. While similarities exist across brands, there are also device-specific details (such as function keys or battery usage) for each brand and model. Each of the companies provides information on rehabilitation, educational concerns, and device maintenance. Find out the type of CI used, and check out that company’s website.


Advanced Bionics Cochlear Corporation MED-EL Establishing goals and objectives for preschool children who use CIs Music in early childhood should encourage playful exploration of music (Campbell & Scott-Kassner, 1995). The goals and objectives for children with CIs tend to be more similar than different from preschoolers who have normal hearing. After all, they are children first, who happen to have hearing loss (Gfeller et al., 2011).


imagine 7(1), 2016

That being said, there may be a discrepancy between a child’s chronological age and development and his/her hearing age. The extent of the discrepancy depends upon hearing history. Earlier, longer, and more severe auditory deprivation can undermine auditory development, and consequently, speech, language, and music development. Therefore, some milestones may be achieved at a later age or slower rate. Goals, objectives, and types of experiences should take into account the child’s chronological maturation as well as hearing age. As is true for children with normal hearing, children with CIs vary in rate of development within different domains, thus individual and dynamic assessment for each child is advisable. Some musical skills that require precise pitch and timbre perception may be particularly challenging. Set realistic goals for perceptual accuracy and mastery, and emphasize exploration and engagement. For example, many children with CIs may have difficulty singing in tune with an external pitch, yet they may still enjoy using their voices and learning song lyrics. Choosing musical instruments As a point of departure, select musical instruments that are suitable for most any preschooler – those that are sturdy, easy to handle, enticing, and have good sound quality. Instrumental preferences vary from one child to the next. Because CIs are best at conveying rhythm (compared with pitch and timbre), rhythm instruments may be easier than pitch-based instruments. When working on timbre discrimination or recognition, start with instruments that have distinctly different timbral features. For example, the sounds of a maraca and a tambourine may be quite similar for a CI user, in contrast to a maraca vs. a drum.


Keep in mind that audibility (perceptual capability to hear a sound) is not a concern for CIs, as can be the case with hearing aids. Therefore, avoid playing musical instruments too loudly, which can be painful for CI users. A younger child may have difficulty verbalizing responses, but rather may make faces, pull at his/her ears, or cry if a sound is too loud or unpleasant. Through playful exposure to various instruments paired with careful observation, it is possible to ascertain responses to specific instruments and figure out which are most suitable for a given child.


Profile for imagine

imagine 2016  

In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....

imagine 2016  

In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....