After a long career as a preschool teacher, I finished my basic education in speech and language pathology 2004. The same year I was lucky enough to be involved in a research project about children with hearing impairment in Birgitta Sahlén’s group. This engagement led, a few years later, into a position as a PhD student and a dissertation in April 2011. I am currently holding a position as an assistant researcher.
My thesis explored narration and reading comprehension in children and teenagers with hearing impairment. About 50% of these children demonstrate difficulties with their language development and the problems are often more clearly visible when the children reach higher school levels and demands are increasing. Only 10-15% of young people with hearing impairment proceed to higher education. It is an important aim to develop assessment methods and training programs for this group in order to improve that figure.
Written narratives were collected by means of keystroke logging, a computer tool which enables the studying of the complex writing process with its temporal aspects. One major finding in my PhD work was that children with cochlear implants use a higher amount of pause time in their writing process than children with normal hearing. Currently, we are investigating pause patterns in children with different kinds of hearing impairment and the possible relations between pause patterns and working memory capacity.
The computer tool ScriptLog (Strömqvist & Karlssson, 2002). The pictures appear on the screen, one by one, and the child writes the narrative in an empty space beside. The written text is visible during the whole writing session.
Another issue of interest is reading comprehension in the group of children with HI. The fact that children with cochlear implants (CI) actually read better than could be expected, taking their poor phonological skills into account, leads to the question how this is done. In collaboration with Malin Wass in Linköping (Björn Lyxell’s group), we are investigating how different aspects of working memory might be related to reading comprehension.