“Interaksjoner mellom de yngste barna med cochleaimplantat og andre barn i barnehagen”.

Hillesøy, S.
Johansson, E.
Ohna, S.
Tidsskrift for nordisk barnehageforskning, 7(4), 1-21.


The study examines how young children aged 1½-3 with a cochlear implant participate in interactions with other children at nursery school and how the cochlear implant facilitates the children’s participation. A cochlear implant is a hearing aid where part of the implant is surgically inserted into the cochlear.



The study shows that a cochlear implant that enables a child to access the sound environment surrounding them is an important premise for participation in interactions. The cochlear implant gives the focus child access to both speech and other meaningful sounds.


The focus children take part in interactions that are both in sync and out of sync. In the ‘in sync’ interactions, the children direct themselves towards each other and have a shared commitment to the activity. Interactions that are ‘out of sync’ are characterised by a conflict of interest among the children. The focus children participate in both types of interaction, and they thereby participate on the same terms as the other children. Participation supports the development of the focus children’s social skills.


The study also shows how vulnerable the child’s participation in interactions with other children is when technology fails. On this basis the study concludes that if the implant is not working the focus children cannot participate on equal terms as children with normal hearing. The study also documents that the skills of the educational staff are crucial for the outcome of situations in which technology fails. If situations where the implant stops working occur and the adults are not familiar with either sign language or the implant, this leads to disruptions in the interactions between the children.




The study’s empirical foundation is based on observations in three Norwegian nursery schools. The groups of children in the three schools consist of 14, 18 and 16 children, respectively. The children are aged 1½-3. There is a child with a cochlear implant in each group. The observations consist of interactions between children without the implant and a child with the implant (the focus child). The material for analysis is video footage totalling eight hours and 19 minutes. Each interaction lasts between ten seconds and 47 minutes. The interactions were transcribed based on a system that describes who acts and in what order, how the children express themselves, what they do and what the outcome is.


The material is analysed focusing on the child’s participation process, i.e. the child’s use of body and language resources in the interactions. The analysis also focuses on factors that can be related to the focus child’s use of the cochlear implant and how it affects the child’s interactions, for example whether the implant enables the child to participate on the same terms as the other children, and what happens if the implant does not work and the child therefore cannot hear. The material is analysed using the concepts of in sync and out of sync. These concepts were created during the analysis as the child’s interactions largely depended on finding rhythm, i.e. finding a rhythm that matches that of the other participants in the interaction.


Hillesøy, S., Johansson, E. & Ohna, S. (2014). “Interaksjoner mellom de yngste barna med cochleaimplantat og andre barn i barnehagen”. Tidsskrift for nordisk barnehageforskning, 7(4), 1-21.

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