Thanksgiving is a time for families to be together and remember what they are thankful for. In the context of hearing loss communication is a critical aspect in maintaining that familial relationship.
Having met many parents who chose Cued Speech for their children, one common theme I've always heard is that Cued Speech brought their family closer.
Regardless of the mode of communication, parents will always have that desire to communicate with their child. After all it is a natural instinct which facilitates the child's language development.
Cued Speech of Colorado is thankful for:
Parents who strive to ensure their children have all opportunities available and access to language.
Professionals who go above and beyond in providing services for children and families impacted by hearing loss.
CSCO Members who have spent time and effort representing CSCO and teaching individuals to cue.
Deaf Cuers who are continuing the same efforts their parents made as advocates of Cued Speech.
National Cued Speech Association which has laid the groundwork for chapters to carry out the mission and vision of Cued Speech as a means of accessing spoken language and facilitating literacy development
Dr. R. Orin Cornett who recognized the true impact of hearing loss on spoken language and literacy development and understood the need for a means of accessing that spoken language visually with accuracy and in real-time.
Aaron Rose, M.S.D.E, CED
President of CSCO
The last week of October consisted of much cueing as many cuers came to Denver for the NCSA board meeting, InsCert workshop, or just to socialize with other cuers. CSCO played hosts to all these cuers, organizing social events such as the Cues on Tap at Beau Jo's and the Cue Crawl in Cherry Creek. All the members of CSCO had an important role in organizing the weekend's activities, especially Mary-Beth Rose with the hotel and social events and Anna Liljestrand with the gift bags!
Personally I felt much at home with these cuers because it's more natural for me to communicate with them through Cued Speech. Even some hearing cuers thrived in this environment as they enjoyed the interaction with cuers of different backgrounds.
A great example of Cued Speech being accessible across different cultures was when I picked up Anthony Jefferson of the United Kingdom at the airport. Even though we had never met each other before in person, we communicated with each other online in regards to matters relating to Cued Speech. As soon as he got in the car, we were able to understand each other, despite the dialectic differences between American English and British English, through cued language. I enjoyed learning of the phonemic elements of British English, and eventually was able to "cue" British English.
As I observed cuers interact with each other, I noticed that if you were to take away the cueing, they would look just like hearing people due to the fact that they're using the same language base to express themselves. An experienced cuer would be able to tell the difference between the deaf cuers and the hearing cuers just by the mannerisms and habits of their cueing. After all deaf cuers weren't typically taught the system, but rather acquired it through exposure while hearing cuers received formal instruction.
What was inspiring was that we had deaf adults who didn't know Cued Speech that attended the social events, solely because they were interested in learning Cued Speech and how cuers interacted with each other. Due to the fact that they weren't able to receptively comprehend cued language (yet...), people were able to switch between sign language and cued language to ensure that everyone was included in the conversations. This type of interaction supports the conclusion that Crain and LaSasso (Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children 2010) came to in describing deaf cuers as highly flexible communicators.
This type of socialization between cuers merits scientific analysis, especially in terms of linguistics and psycho-social aspects of hearing loss. The entire point of Cued Speech was to make spoken language accessible through vision and in term making the world accessible for cuers with hearing loss. Furthermore, cued American English has been described as a variety of English (Portolano 2008) due to the ability to express much of the same linguistic information as written and spoken English.
I always wonder what Dr. Cornett had envisioned for the future of Cued Speech while developing it at Gallaudet College in the 1960's. After all, he never intended for it to be an alternative to sign language, but rather a supplementary means of accessing spoken language. Did he intend for it to be a "natural" mode of communication between deaf cuers? Did he intend for people with hearing loss to have their own sense of identity as cuers? As time went on, he realized those things were possible since cuers were creating their own sense of community through cue camps and regional organizations.
The presence of CLEAR highlights the impact Cued Speech has had on those cuers' lives and the place it has in their hearts. Those cuers have expressed a desire to represent the cueing community as leaders, educators, and advocates of Cued Speech and cued language.
The reason why people have found so much success with Cued Speech is because it allows them to gain that access to spoken language, the dominant means of self-expression within our society. As a result, they acquire the same language as of their peers. By having that strong foundation in spoken language, those individuals have the means of developing strong literacy skills.
Aaron Rose, M.S.D.E, CED
President of CSCO