Why Choose Cued Speech?
Book: "Choices in Deafness: A Parents' Guide to Communication Options", edited by Sue Schwartz, Ph.D.
Chapter 12 "Cued Speech: A Professional Perspective" by Jane Smith, M.A.
1. Research shows that Cued Speech promotes literacy. Considerable evidence shows that even a mild or moderate hearing loss can interfere with literacy development, creating significant delays in reading comprehension and other academic skills. Cued Speech enables deaf children to develop phonics skills naturally and thus become good readers.
2. Research also shows that Cued Speech improves expressive language, receptive language, and speechreading skills.
3. Cued Speech is a relatively easy system to learn. Parents can learn the entire Cued Speech system in ten to fifteen hours. They can become proficient and cue anything to their child within a few months. If parents learn Cued Speech, they can be sure that their child receives the language that she cannot hear.
4. Cued Speech promotes vocabulary growth. The time from birth to five years is regarded as an optimal and critical period for language acquisition. A hearing loss during this time alters a child's ability to learn vocabulary and language. Research shows that hearing parents of deaf children tend to oversimplify their language when they interact with their child. This oversimplification can limit vocabulary growth. With Cued Speech, you can interact the same way you would with a hearing child and use normal vocabulary.
5. Cued Speech can be used with the spoken language of the family, be it English, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, or other. This is important, since 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing families.
6. Cued Speech can be and has been used as a second language for ASL users. Some families choose to use ASL at home and use Cued Speech at school to learn English.
7. Cued Speech enables a child to see the morphological structures that are difficult to hear. For example, for the word "jumped" we say "jumpt," not "jump-ped;" The /pt/ sounds are difficult to see and hear. We say "I talk, but he talks," adding the difficult-to-hear /s/ sound for the third person. These and other rules of English can be internalized naturally through Cued Speech.
8. Cued Speech helps a deaf child recognize pronunciation. The child can learn how to pronounce words such as "hors d'oeuvre" or "tamale" or "Hermione" that have pronunciations different from how they are spelled. A child can learn about accents and dialects. In New York, coffee may be pronounced "caw fee"; in the South, the word friend ("fray-end") can be a two-syllable word.
9. Cued Speech can be used to learn additional languages. It has been expanded to include non-English phonemes in over fifty languages such as Hebrew, Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, and French.
10. Cued Speech is a great tool for children who have cochlear implants. Cued Speech develops an internal phonological model of speech and language that helps a child verify what she is hearing via the implant.
11. Cued Speech can aid children who have normal hearing by have other disabilities such as dyslexia, apraxia, and developmental or auditory processing disorders. Because Cued Speech is multisensory and integrated with speech, it can help hearing children who can process information better through their sense of sight then their sense of hearing. Similarly, it is also an important communication tool for deaf children who have additional disabilities because it is a tactile, kinesthetic, and visual way to get language across.
12. Cued Speech is at one's fingertips all the time. Whether your child is in the bath, in the pool, or tucked in bed without her listening device, you will still have clear communication.
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
Many people mention they have heard of Cued Speech, but are curious to know more in depth about the visual mode of communication. The link below is a great article that describes how Cued Speech differs from Sign Language.