A new measurement tool for speech development based on Ling's stages of speech acquisition in pediatric cochlear implant recipients.
With the rapid increase of pediatric cochlear implantation (CI), there exists a need for a standardized assessment tool regarding speech and communication skills in children with CI. However, the current testing tools are not appropriate for the longitudinal evaluation of young children after CI. The aims of this study were to describe a progressive testing tool developed for the evaluation of speech acquisition and production in young children who have undergone CI and to examine its validity. Sixty children younger than six years of age with CI participated in this study. A Korean version of Ling's stages (K-Ling) was developed based on the Ling speech teaching model to longitudinally assess phonologic and phonetic developments in young children after CI. The K-Ling, the Categories of Auditory Performance (CAP), and the Sequenced Language Scale for Infants (SELSI) were performed in the children with CI preoperatively and three, six, and 12 months postoperatively. Correlations among these three testing tools were analyzed. Auditory, language, and speech skills assessed using the CAP, SELSI, and K-Ling improved continuously for 12 months in young children following CI. Strong correlations were obtained among K-Ling's level, CAP scores, and the equivalent age of SELSI; correlation indices ranged from 0.540 to 0.800. The K-Ling was a valid evaluation tool regarding speech development in young children who are using CI and who are in the early stages of speech development. Longitudinal assessments of phonetic and phonologic developments may be attainable in young children using the K-Ling. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.