Factors Influencing Caregiver Decision Making to Change the Communication Method of their Child with Hearing Loss
. Scarinci, Nerina A
Gehrke, Monica J
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The communication journey of a child with hearing loss is often a complex, interwoven process in which the child’s use of language or method of communication may change numerous times. As there has been limited research exploring the caregiver decision making process behind making such changes, this qualitative descriptive study aimed to explore the factors which influence the caregiver decision making process to change the communication method of their child with hearing loss. Individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with seven caregivers of children with hearing loss in Australia. Thematic analysis revealed five key themes which influenced caregiver decisions regarding changes to their child’s method of communication, including: (1) family characteristics; (2) family access to information; (3) family strengths; (4) family beliefs; and (5) family-centered practice. The overall finding that the family unit is at the core of decision-making has important clinical implications regarding early intervention professionals’ provision of family-centered services when working with the families of children with hearing loss.