Complex Needs - Complex Outcomes: Children with CI's

Children with Cochlear Implants: Complex Needs: Complex Outcomes (2013)

Executive Summary


  • The parents of 10 deaf children with complex needs, who had received cochlear implants, were interviewed using a semi structured format.
  • All of the parents in the study were very pleased that their child had an implant, five were extremely satisfied, and five had some minor concerns but overall were satisfied.
  • Three of the children had achieved more than expected with their implants.
  • For some the improvement was not mainly one of language and communication, but of being more aware of environmental sounds, or being more included in the life of the family.
  • Deaf children with complex needs are a heterogeneous group. The interaction of deafness with a range of other needs and disabilities makes this a very diverse group of children with very diverse needs; cochlear implantation adds another dimension.
  • Because of this diversity, it is often difficult to get assessments and support that recognises the interaction of the deafness with the other disabilities.
  • It is unlikely that professionals will be experienced in the range of complex needs with which they come into contact.
  • Audiological assessment, which is vital to the process of assessment for implantation, may be difficult with this group of children, and often took a long time.
  • There was some reluctance in some places to implant children with complex needs. This reluctance could sometimes be attributed to applying expectations of typical developing children to children with complex needs.
  • The decision to go ahead with implantation was an easy one for most parents to make.
  • For some parents switch on was a ‘magical’ experience with their child responding to sounds very quickly.
  • Educational provision often focuses on one particular need of the child rather than the interaction between their various special needs.
  • Parents felt that in general not enough is known about deaf children with complex needs. 


Download the Findings:

You can download the report by clicking here: complex needs complex issues final.pdf


Our thanks to Advanced Bionics for assistance with this study.