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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marygrace Yale Kaiser

Second Committee Member

Maria Carlo

Third Committee Member

Alexandra L. Quittner


The current study sought to examine predictors of language acquisition for deaf children who received cochlear implants in a large, multi-center trial. General maternal sensitivity as well as two specific types of maternal sensitivity, cognitive and linguistic stimulation, were all evaluated in relation to speech production. Characteristics of the family and child (e.g. maternal education, family income, age at implantation, etc.) were also evaluated. The hypotheses tested were: 1) child age at implantation and gender, maternal education, and family income were expected to predict speech production across 6 and 12 months post-implantation, 2) both Cognitive and Linguistic Stimulation were expected to predict the growth of speech production at 6 and 12 months post-implantation, and 3) Cognitive and Linguistic Stimulation were expected to predict speech production above and beyond that predicted by general Maternal Sensitivity. Results indicated that, of the demographic variables, only child age at implantation was a significant predictor of speech production. Cognitive and linguistic stimulation were significantly associated with the development of speech production in the first year following activation of the implant. Furthermore, these important maternal behaviors accounted for gains in speech production beyond that accounted for by general maternal sensitivity. These findings have several clinical implications, including the development of formalized training for parents of children who receive cochlear implants.


Deaf Children; Cochlear Implants; Maternal Sensitivity; Speech Production