Original Research

School readiness and academic achievement of children with hearing impairment: A South African exploratory study

Ntsako P. Maluleke, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 11, No 1 | a898 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v11i1.898 | © 2021 Ntsako P. Maluleke, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 June 2020 | Published: 02 September 2021

About the author(s)

Ntsako P. Maluleke, 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: Children with hearing impairment may be at risk of not achieving the necessary school readiness because of the link between hearing impairment and academic achievement. However, early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) can improve potential outcomes for these children.

Aim: As part of a bigger study titled ‘Communication and school readiness abilities of hearing-impaired preschool graduates: Exploring outcomes of early intervention preschool programs in Gauteng’, the aim of this study was to describe the school readiness and academic achievement of children with hearing impairment through retrospective record reviews of EHDI preschool records and Grade 3 teachers’ survey.

Setting: The study was conducted in Gauteng, South Africa, where two EHDI preschool centres participated in the study.

Methods: Eight children identified with hearing impairment and enrolled in EHDI preschools were included in the study, along with their Grade 3 teachers. Data collection was conducted through a self-developed teacher questionnaire and record reviews of the children’s preschool files. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Three children (n = 8) obtained age-appropriate school readiness results and were subsequently enrolled in mainstream schools. Five children (n = 8) did not exhibit age-appropriate school readiness and were subsequently enrolled in remedial schools and schools for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN).

Conclusion: These preliminary findings demonstrate that through EHDI, children with hearing impairment are allowed to develop the school readiness required to experience academic success. Factors influencing outcomes within the South African context need to be explored in order for South Africa to benefit maximally from EHDI initiatives.


Keywords

hearing impairment; school readiness; academic achievement; early hearing detection and intervention; early intervention; schooling

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