“Barnehagepersonalets refleksjoner om vilkår for deltakelse for barn med cochleaimplantat”.

Hillesøy, S.
Ohna, S.
Spesialpedagogikk, 14(07), 47-59.


The purpose of this study is to examine the possibilities for children with cochlear implants (an implant developed for people who are deaf or have severe hearing loss) to take part in the community of children at daycare centres ("barnehage").


The aim is to elucidate how early childhood educators' experience of the meeting between special educational tradition and mainstream educational tradition motivates and limits these children’s participation in the community. This results in three research questions: 1) How do the staff talk about children with cochlear implants? 2) How do the staff describe the pedagogical services offered? 3) How do the staff justify their practice?


The staff refer to the child as an ordinary child, but also as a child who is different. This means that the staff talk somewhat ambivalently about the child, as expressed in the staff's descriptions of the child's possibilities to take part in the community of children. For example, too much noise can make children with cochlear implants withdraw from the play situation and make them aggressive. Children with cochlear implants can find it difficult to read cultural and social codes regulating play. Language and communication are a challenge, and staff often have to step in and help these children understand the other children and express themselves.


There is a schism between special educational and mainstream educational approaches to children with a cochlear implant. This schism reduces the possibilities to establish an inclusive community for the entire group of children. All children with cochlear implants have special educational assistance. Special educational assistance includes a dedicated early childhood educator who monitors the child with the implant 80-100% of the time. However, the study describes the special educational support as being separate from the other activities. The special educational support for children with cochlear implants is organised as individual support and as training outside the ordinary community of children. This means that children with cochlear implants are offered care that differs from ordinary care services.


Ensuring that children with cochlear implants experience being part of the community of children places high demands on the daycare centre as well as on the special educational service. The staff are responsible for fulfilling many different objectives whilst balancing their own educational tradition with special educational traditions. The majority of informants express satisfaction with the special educational guidance they were given when a child with a cochlear implant began at their daycare centre. The study also shows that early childhood educators can find it overwhelming to be confronted by many different parties who all want to contribute their perspective when a child with a cochlear implant is to start at the daycare centre.



The article uses an ethnographically inspired design with methodologies such as video footage, field notes and interviews.


The informants for the study worked with groups of 14, 18 or 26 children aged 1-3 years. There were three to six employees in each group. One child in each group had a cochlear implant. The field work was carried out in a period of one year at three Norwegian daycare centres. A total of nine interviews were conducted.


Hillesøy, S. & Ohna, S. (2014). “Barnehagepersonalets refleksjoner om vilkår for deltakelse for barn med cochleaimplantat”. Spesialpedagogikk, 14(07), 47-59.

Financed by

Not disclosed