On August 8th, RIT and NTID announced they were awarded $2.6 million for the first large-scale study of language outcomes in young, deaf adults.
This award will cover five years of research supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
The research will focus on studying the neurological, linguistic and behavioral outcomes for deaf individuals after childhood.
This is the first study of its kind with college-aged adults.
Matthew Dye, the RIT/NTID researcher leading the grant, says that many children learned spoken language through the use of cochlear implants, however, one thing that stands out the most is the variability of outcomes after implantation. Many different things can happen after implantation. Some children benefit, but some do not. Mr. Dye wants to understand this variability factor in order to better develop more effective interventions for children where they will be able to develop better communication abilities.
The students involved in this study will be RIT/NTID students who received their implants at a young age.
The majority of these students will vary in terms of whether or not they use their cochlear implant, the age at which they received their cochlear implant and their primary mode of communication whether it be spoken English, sign language or otherwise. This unique sample of young adults at RIT/NTID, many of whom learned sign language in infancy and use a cochlear implant, affords the possibility of examining how early exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) influences spoken language outcomes.
Dye will collaborate with researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder to establish norms for hearing college students.