Cochlear Implant University

Parent and Student Participation is Needed to Evaluate Online College Transition Resource

CI UniversityThe Cochlear Implant University (CIU) is an interactive, self-advocacy skills-building website to support high school and college students with cochlear implants and their parents during the transition to college. Students with cochlear implants as well as parents are invited to participate in a research study to help evaluate CIU.

Participants in the study will include high school students (grades 10 through 12) or college students (freshmen through seniors). Students must have had their cochlear implant (unilateral, bilateral or hearing aid/CI) for at least two years. The study will also involve parents of students who are in high school or college; these participants need not be the parents of students who are participating in the study.

Eligible student participants will complete two online surveys to answer questions about self-advocacy and the transition to college and may be asked to review the CIU website. Eligible parent participants will complete two online surveys to answer questions about the transition to college and supporting their students and may also review the CIU website. Participation should take between two and four hours. Click here (students) and click here (parents) to read more about the study and to participate. The deadline to enroll is February 29.

This research is being conducted by KDH Research & Communication (KDHRC), an Atlanta-based research firm funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. KDHRC received funding from the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to develop and evaluate CIU. For more information about the project:  

Self-Advocacy and CIU

Self-advocacy is the ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate, or assert one’s interests, desires, needs, and rights. Self-advocacy is critical to a successful college transition for students with cochlear implants because it enables students to overcome challenges they may face in college. CIU targets students beginning the college planning process in 10th grade through the end of freshman year in college as students settle into their new environment, although the information in CIU is applicable to students throughout their college career.

The college transition can be an exciting time of change for all students, but students with cochlear implants are at risk for academic and social challenges because upon high school graduation they leave behind the supports—such as parents, school staff and legal structures—that advocated for their academic and social needs. In college, responsibilities for accommodations shift from parents to students. Therefore, students with cochlear implants must self-advocate to receive accommodations. This requires students to navigate legal structures protecting their right to classroom accommodations, such as assistive listening devices or note-takers; knowing what accommodations they require; contacting the Office of Disability Services to secure accommodations; and troubleshooting any technical problems with their cochlear implants. Once students request accommodations, colleges require verification of student disabilities and each college sets its own standards for documentation.
Securing and managing accommodations are the first challenges, but others may follow. Because students with cochlear implants often use listening and spoken language as their primary means of communication, people often perceive them to have typical hearing, misunderstand their communication difficulties, and believe that they do not need special accommodations. Unlike K-12 teachers who adopt new teaching strategies for students with cochlear implants, college faculty are not required to modify their instruction style. The student therefore, must self-advocate to overcome challenges associated with learning in larger class sizes and noisier environments, for example by requesting seating most optimal to hear the professor. Finally, students with cochlear implants are faced with educating new peers about cochlear implants and the devices’ communication limitations, such as difficulties hearing in group situations. A core set of self-advocacy knowledge and skills can prepare students with cochlear implants to handle these challenges and succeed academically and socially in college.
As a self-advocacy training tool for students with cochlear implants, CIU builds knowledge on college transition topics such as college planning, identifying college accommodations, applying for accommodations, self-advocating in challenging social and academic situations, and increasing self-advocacy skills among students with cochlear implants. CIU also provides information for parents. Once 18 years old, students with cochlear implants are adults and their parents cannot advocate on their behalf, for example to receive accommodations. However, parent involvement relates to more positive educational outcomes among students with cochlear implants. Therefore, CIU will strengthen parental knowledge and their ability to support their student during the college transition. 



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