March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/14/2016  |   3:20 PM - 3:50 PM   |  Topical Session 3   |  Pacific Salon 2   |  3 - Language Acquisition and Development

What to Expect for Children with Auditory Brainstem Implants in Early Childhood Settings

No longer are service providers solely working with peripheral systems to stimulate the auditory cortex, but instead tapping directly into the brainstem. The Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI), and the increasing number of centers providing this surgery, brings yet another element to consider when serving heterogeneous young children with hearing loss. When families choose this device and then request services, those connected to EHDI need to be aware of reported research and current practices related to children using an ABI. This presentation will focus on preschoolers with Auditory Brainstem Implants in early childhood services. The presenter will report on the diverse demographics and varied language acquisition of ten preschoolers who participated in John Tracy Clinic’s programs including Parent Infant, International Summer Session and yearlong Preschool. Their families who are using spoken language, sign language or combined approaches are partnering with multiple providers. “Lessons learned” from other hearing technology advances and how those experiences can structure expectations for the ABI will be discussed. Current device research and studies concerning these children as learners will be shared, along with effective parent programs, language acquisition strategies and short video clips of educational intervention. Presenters and attendees will explore collaborative models for service providers and parents to use together in maximizing their efforts to achieve optimum language outcomes for these children and strengthen support for their families.

  • Describe two etiologies common with ABI child recipients and three potential learning challenges.
  • Identify five “lessons learned” from hearing technologies that can be used in planning appropriate language development intervention.
  • Design a potential collaborative model for coordinating continuing information between families and multiple providers.

This presentation has not yet been uploaded or the speaker has opted not to make the presentation available online.

Handout is not Available

CART transcripts are NOT YET available, but will be posted shortly after the conference


Jill Muhs (Primary Presenter), John Tracy Clinic, jmuhs@jtc.org;
Jill Muhs is the Vice President of Programs at John Tracy Clinic. She has more than 25 years of experience at JTC including parent infant, preschool classrooms, family education and graduate instruction. She supervises all direct service staff and is the lead collaborator for ABIs and other service models. In 2014 Jill spoke at Hearing Across the Lifespan (HEAL) in Como, Italy and at Family Centered Early Intervention (FCEI) in Bad Ischl, Austria. She recently co-authored a paper entitled, Sensory Integration Considerations for Children with Cochlear Implants. Currently Jill is also serving on the AGBell CA Chapter board, Training and Advocacy Group (TAG) board, and First Five’s Best Start Metro LA Community Guidance Board.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -

Anne McNally (POC), JTC, amcnally@jtc.org;
Director JTC Distance Education for Parents


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.