Nittrouer et al. examined the verbal working memory of 47 fourth graders with normal hearing and 46 fourth graders with cochlear implants, and found that verbal working memory skills in children with cochlear implants were delayed two years compared to their normal-hearing peers. A child with poor verbal working memory is likely to struggle with the immediate recall of spoken information. Because children with cochlear implants also receive diminished acoustic signals, they rely on vocabulary knowledge to compensate for their challenges with recalling and responding to verbal information. The researchers offer suggestions—like incorporating visual aids as often as possible in academic settings—for compensating for deficits in verbal working memory in the “Potential Clinical Implications” section.
By reviewing school-based speech–language pathologists’ therapy logs, Tambyraja et al. investigated the correlations between SLP–caregiver communication (i.e. most frequently in the form of sending homework with the student) and students’ gains in morphology, vocabulary, and literacy. Within the sample, there was a significant difference in the morphology skills gained from fall to spring by children whose SLPs communicated with caregivers more frequently than average (i.e. more than 12 weeks of the academic year). Although students in the study made gains in vocabulary and literacy skills, the correlations between these child gains and SLP–caregiver communication were not significant. Why? We don’t know for sure. But the authors postulate that morphology might be easier for parents to drill, when compared to vocabulary and literacy.
Tambyraja, S. R., Schmitt, M. B., & Justice, L. M. (2017). The frequency and nature of communication between school-based speech–language pathologists and caregivers of children. American Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 26, 1193–1201.