Original Research

A comparative study of learning outcomes for hearing-impaired foundation phase learners

Aisha Casoojee, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1419 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1419 | © 2024 Aisha Casoojee, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 August 2023 | Published: 29 February 2024

About the author(s)

Aisha Casoojee, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Amisha Kanji, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Two intervention approaches are implemented in South Africa to alleviate the deleterious consequences of congenital or early onset hearing impairment on language acquisition and subsequent poor learning outcomes.

Aim: This study investigated the learning outcomes of foundation phase learners with severe to profound hearing impairment who received Listening and Spoken Language – South Africa (LSL-SA) (adapted Auditory Verbal Therapy) therapy compared to those who received Traditional Speech-Language Therapy (TSLT).

Setting: The study was conducted at four early intervention (EI) schools for children with hearing impairment across three provinces in South Africa.

Methods: Data were collected through record reviews of their Speech-Language Therapy Outcomes and South African National Department of Basic Education academic report cards. Data were analysed using quantitative statistics.

Results: Findings demonstrated that children with hearing impairment enrolled in LSL-SA outperformed those enrolled in TSLT in achieving age-equivalent language outcomes. A higher percentage of learners enrolled in LSL-SA achieved meritorious to outstanding learning outcomes. While a comparable number of learners progressed to mainstream schooling, children with hearing impairment enrolled in LSL-SA are enrolled for a shorter duration until discharge than those enrolled in TSLT. This is an important finding, particularly in low-middle income countries (LMICs).

Conclusion: Listening and Spoken Language – South Africa graduates achieved superior learning outcomes dependent on language attainment, providing contextually relevant evidence supporting the effectiveness of the LSL-SA EI approach.

Contribution: These context-specific outcomes stress the obligation to upscale and fast-track EI services. Implications for investment in LSL-SA are proposed through collaboration between families, educators, and early interventionists.


Keywords

academic achievement; auditory-verbal therapy; early hearing detection and intervention; early intervention; hearing impairment; listening and spoken language – South Africa; learning outcomes; schooling.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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