Original ArticlesThe Developmental Benefits of Allowing Deaf Children With Cochlear Implants Early Access to Sign LanguageJohnson, Mckenna BAAuthor Information Department of Psychology, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington. Correspondence: Mckenna Johnson, BA, Department of Psychology, University of Puget Sound, 1500 North Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416 ([email protected]). The author declares no conflict of interest. Infants & Young Children: April/June 2021 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 141-155 doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000185 Buy Metrics Abstract This review addresses the question of how early access to sign language influences the development of deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) by examining the literature surrounding the topic across the domains of spoken/written language development, cognitive development, and sociocultural development. Although research in the realm of language development is mixed, there appear to be few potential detriments to sign language access that may not be mediated by other aspects, such as age of implantation. Early sign language access, furthermore, shows potential to prevent developmental delays in general as well as specific cognitive functioning, and the current article speculates that claiming a Deaf identity (to which sign language is vital) may act as a protective factor against the stress of stigma surrounding hearing loss. Based on the relative insufficiency of current research to offer undisputable long-term concerns regarding the impact of sign language on development, as well as the existing evidence that suggests that early access to sign language may act as a protective factor against delays in multiple developmental domains, this review concludes that the potential benefits of allowing deaf children with CIs early and comprehensive access to sign language outweigh any possible risks. © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.