Title: 'Preparing Children for Cochlear Implant Surgery'
Track: 4 - Early Intervention
Keyword(s): social/emotional development, surgery preparation
Learning Objectives:
  1. At the end of the session, participants will be able to construct and use a cochlear implant preparation kit to send home with parents or use in the classroom
  2. At the end of the session, participants will be able to identify important components of preparing children for surgery
  3. At the end of the session, participants will be able to adapt activities to emotionally prepare diverse children, ages infant through preschool, for surgery


Going to the hospital for surgery, such as for a cochlear implant, can be a traumatic experience for children, particularly those who are healthy and otherwise have limited or no experience in a hospital setting. Research shows that preparing children for medical procedures significantly reduces negative psychological impacts of these procedures, including fear, anxiety, stress, and decreased cooperative behavior. Though many hospitals have Child Life Specialists trained to prepare children for medical procedures, these professionals rarely have the specialized knowledge necessary to work with deaf and hard of hearing children who may have a significant discrepancy between their developmental level and language abilities or who may communicate using sign language. Parents and children also are often just learning sign language. Parents may not know--or know how to teach--specific medical vocabulary and children may not yet have the receptive language ability to understand complex vocabulary and explanations. Therefore, this task of preparing the child falls on the child’s teachers, therapists, parents, and CI team. Participants will be introduced to materials used by one school in the classroom and with families at home and will receive the practical information necessary to build their own kits relevant to their center or services. The kit includes teaching and play materials, paper and electronic books, instructions for using the kit, and useful multi-lingual/modal (English, Spanish, American Sign Language, Signing Exact English) vocabulary. Take home materials will include a detailed shopping list, activity ideas, and other information necessary to build a kit, including resources for creating eBooks for the iPad and other devices. Information will be presented on how to use the materials, address important considerations for preparing children for surgery, and share ideas on how to adapt these activities to meet various developmental levels, language abilities, culturally diverse populations, and medical/dental procedures.
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Kimberly Leong - POC,Primary Presenter,Author
West Contra Costa Unified School District
     Credentials: M.A., Deaf Education: Family-Centered Early Education
      Kimberly (Tarasenko) Leong is an Early Intervention Specialist at the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness in Berkeley, California. She provides home visits with families, facilitates parent/child playgroups, coordinates parent education and family activity events, and teaches sign classes for parents and community members. She is a Teacher of the Deaf who received her Master’s degree from Gallaudet University in Deaf Education: Family-Centered Early Education. She has worked with young deaf or hard of hearing children and their families both in the United States as well as in Kenya.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.