THURSDAY, Jan. 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Cochlear implantation (CI) benefits deaf children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published online Dec. 21 in Otology & Neurotology.

Carolyn M. Jenks, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues reviewed data from 30 children with ASD who underwent CI between 1991 and 2018.

The researchers report that mean age at CI was 3.5 years, mean age at ASD diagnosis was 5.1 years (22 of 30 diagnosed after CI), and the mean follow-up was 10.5 years. Open-set speech perception developed in 33 percent of all and 45 percent of the 22 consistent device users by an average of 4.5 years of device use. At last follow-up, educational placement included 13 percent mainstreamed without interpreter, 50 percent in special education programs, 10 percent in therapeutic residential or day programs, 23 percent in total communication programs, and one home schooled. Nearly one-third (31 percent) used spoken language alone and 14 percent used spoken plus sign, with the remainder using sign alone, augmentative communication devices, or no mode of communication. Compared with before CI, parent reports showed 86 percent of children had improvement in social engagement after CI. The behaviors most frequently ranked as most affected by CI were communication and attention, while awareness of environment had the lowest (most affected) mean ranking in parent survey results.

“Understanding the range of outcomes in this population is important for counseling parents and educators to ensure that these children receive appropriate support and services,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed serving on the advisory boards of Advanced Bionic Corporation and MED-EL Corporation, both manufacturers of cochlear implants.

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