Author(s): Mather Julie, Archbold Sue, Gregory Sue
A semi-structured interview format was used to explore the experiences and attitudes of twelve parents and twelve teachers of young people, aged 11-18 years, who had received sequential bilateral cochlear implants. The parents stressed the importance of involving the young person in the decision to go ahead with the second implant. Although all young people made the decision with their parents, some were intrinsically more self-motivated than others. Parents described the greater complexity of their role in supporting the young person with the second implant, as compared with the first. Perseverance was essential for successful use of the implant; although this had usually been explained, not all parents felt they fully comprehended the implications of this and it is challenging when the development of the use of the second implant is taking place at a time when there are high educational demands. Rehabilitation for the second implant was very limited with emphasis on the family to facilitate the use of it, and mixed advice as to how to do so. Some local teachers of the deaf were involved in the rehabilitation but many felt excluded from the process and ill equipped to contribute effectively. There was little support from cochlear implant centres available to the young people during their transition to two implants and local teachers of the deaf would have appreciated much closer liaison with cochlear implant centres. They felt more involvement in the rehabilitation and monitoring process would have benefitted the young person. Those young people who were offered individual listening sessions with a speech and language therapist or teacher of the deaf valued this.