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A pilot study to develop a methodology for investigating the influence of background variables on the spoken language development of hearing impaired children from multilingual families where English is an additional language.
Whilst there is a wealth of research about spoken language development and communication for hearing impaired (HI) children from English-speaking families, there is only very limited knowledge about these skills for children from minority bi/multi-lingual families where English is an additional language (EAL). This initial study, to be conducted at a Primary School in LB of Newham, will pilot a methodology for investigating 1) the development of EAL HI children’s spoken English skills during the first 2 years in school when they are consistently exposed to English; (2) the children’s relative use of home language and English during those 2 years; (3) the possible relationships between groups of background variables, viz language, family, intervention, child’s audiological profile and (4) ways of associating closely-related background variables with children's spoken language outcomes. This pilot will be a set of multiple case studies with 6 EAL HI and 3 English HI children in the Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS. Each HI child will be matched with a hearing child from the same class. At 4 key time points, the children’s spoken English outcomes will be measured using a battery of standardized tests. The EAL children’s use of home language will be assessed using parent and teacher checklists. The parents and teachers will be interviewed to gain information about the background variables. Data will be analyzed to produce descriptive statistics. For each child, outcomes data will be statistically analyzed e.g. using a simplified time series analysis. The data from the interviews and checklists will be coded and entered into an appropriate analysis e.g. multiple correspondence analysis. Ways of relating the more closely associated background variables to the outcome measures for each child will be explored. Evidence about the assumed impact of the language environment on EAL HI children’s spoken language development will advance theoretical understanding of this issue. Such evidence will also enable professionals to develop better guidelines for appropriate advice to parents about language use in the home, and to contribute to appropriate strategies used within the classroom, as well as to the refinement of targeted interventions.
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