I like this video because it gives a brief introduction into how Cued Speech works. It shows how the hand shapes identify sounds. It is useful for a hearing parent who is looking for information. It explains the system in a very functional way. Unfortunately, while the speaker cues what she says, it is not signed or captioned, so it is not a good resource for a deaf or hearing impaired individual who does not already know Cued Speech.
I’m interested to find out if any other cuers are interested in guest blogging. Are you a cuer, the parent of a cuer, a person who supports cuers? Do you have stories concerning the history of Cued Speech, Orin Cornett, or early cuers? Are you willing to share your story? Let me know by leaving a comment to this post or by clicking on the link at the top of the page for “Submit Article”.
Iâ€™ve mentioned in the past that I am a hearing parent of a deaf/HOH cuer, but that I personally did not learn phonics as a young reader. My grade level in school was taught the whole word method to learn to read. I really didnâ€™t even understand what phonics and phonemes were until I learned to cue. How much difference does it make to learn to read via whole word method vs. a phonemic method? Iâ€™d never really thought much about it untilâ€¦
Ray, my â€œcue kidâ€, and I were riding in the car a few days ago. We stopped at a stop light and I looked at the vanity license plate of the car in front us. It said â€œGTHR LVâ€. I began pondering what it represented. I immediately thought that the LV might represent the roman numerals for 55. That seemed logical since 55 is the standard speed limit and this was on a car. But what would GTHR represent? Get there? Got her?
I was still pondering when Ray mustâ€™ve noticed me staring at the tag. He asked â€œdo you know that meansâ€? I asked him what he thought it was. He said â€œThatâ€™s easy, Gather Love. They just left out the vowelsâ€. I realized a bit abashedly that he was right. My son who learned the English language through Cued Speech is obviously better at phonemic awareness than I am. Iâ€™m not sure if this a statement on how well he has internalized phonemic awareness, thanks to Cued Speech, or how poorly I have internalized it, but I certainly found it an idea worth further pondering.
There was a celebration Sunday, and I had to say a few words. Â Foolishly, I was unprepared.
Sunday we had a grand party for Ben, a celebration of his graduation from high school. Â My father, and all three of my brothers and family, attended. Â W, Ben’s mom, had her mother and her three sisters in town for the affair. Â Various players from Ben’s academic life — transliterator, DHOH and regular teachers, auditory specialist, tutor — showed up, much to our delight. Ben’s friends and their families were on hand. Â Personal friends of mine joined us to share food and drink, reveling in the moment.
That point came in the celebration, as it does in many of life’s moments, when an acknowledgement of the event and its importance to those attending must occur. Â Time for a quieting of the crowd, and for someone to say something. Â Foolishly, I was unprepared.
Nonetheless, as host with Ben’s mother, we three stood apart and gathered every one’s attention. Â Cueing and asking others to cue to some of the deaf guests, I welcomed and thanked all attendees, singling out special people, including the families on both sides, the great education professionals/supporters, and other dear friends. Â It was heartfelt, but feel it was not too articulate. Â I should have focused on the incredible journey Ben’s made, and the amazing distance he’s traveled in that journey.
The journey from the early traumatic days of his sudden hearing loss at three and half years old, hearing aids and the controversies and choices in deafness. Â Quickly identifying the fundamental appeal of Cued Speech — literacy — and deciding that value was dominant. Â Learning to cue, attending pre-school events, sending Ben at the age of four on a 45 minute ride to his school! Â Eventually deciding on the cochlear implant, committing to the rehabilitation and testing to make it so effective. Â Meeting Dr. Cornett, and spending time with the man who invented the literacy system of cueing. Â The support and amazing skills of the Montgomery County DHOH professionals, from speech and classroom teachers to transliterators to parent support. Â The journey from separate DHOH classroom for pre-school, to mainstreamed with support at the school with cueing, then totally mainstreamed (with transliterators and support) at our local elementary, middle, and high school.
None of this journey did I mention. Â I should have been ready for the moment, but somehow in the swirl of the details of the party, it got away from me. Â Foolishly, I was unprepared.
Today, running through the woods, rewinding the grand event, I was listening to music. Â A song by the Dixie Chicks, Lullaby, struck me. Â While it would not have captured the details of Ben’s amazing journey, the lyrics from that song, about a parent’s love of a newborn child, would have captured the essence of what I’d wished I’d said:
They didn’t have you where I come from Never knew the best was yet to come Life began when I saw your face And I hear your laugh like a serenade
How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough, is forever enough? How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough? Cause I’m never, never giving you up
In some sense, life began when I saw Ben’s face. Â And a unique life began when Ben lost his hearing.
I’m never, never giving him up. Â Nor giving up on him.
Are any of you reading the new book â€œCued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Childrenâ€? Iâ€™ve been reading my copy. Have you found a favorite quote in the book yet? One of my favorites is right in Chapter 1 which was written by Carol LaSasso. Hereâ€™s an excerpt:
â€œThere are two primary advantages of cued language over signed language for the 95% of parents of deaf children who are themselves hearing. First, learning to cue a language that one already knows can be accomplished in a weekend. Parents who do so can be fluent visual language models of English and other traditionally spoken languages for their deaf child in a very short period of time. â€¦
A second advantage of cued English over ASL is that it offers the same advantage in learning to read that English speaking children have, compared to children who are learning English as a Second Language. This is, learning to read a language is much simpler for children who are familiar with the conversational form of that language before formal reading instruction than it is for children who are learning to read while simultaneously learning the language.â€
Iâ€™m sure there are those who will see this quote and be ready to argue its validity, but this statement was not made off hand. It was made based on years of research and experience with deaf students. For 10 years, Dr. LaSasso directed diagnostic reading clinics for more than 400 deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents from multiple modalities.
So, dear blog reader, have you found a favorite quote yet? If so, please share it!
Weeks drift by, the screen remains blank. Â Where are the words? Â What do you want to articulate? Â What does it have to do with cueing?
Should I talk of modeling romantic love as a single parent to my teenage youth, about to become ensnared in love’s confusions and passions? Â Of Cafe Lady, a woman I have known for years, but only dated a brief period, ending with an odd abruptness? Â Of the pain from the ending, the reemergence in my consciousness of absence, how I rue that I Â have no one to share my life with?
Ben and Maddie have also known Cafe Lady for years, and we three enjoyed time spent with her while we were dating. They accept the end of the relationship, knowing that’s how things go, understanding that its ending is no reflection on them, knowing that among Cafe Lady’s many charms is a quality of warmth that maintains affection for them, only now from afar. Â I do my best to be transparent with them, admitting to missing Cafe Lady and speaking of adventures we shared. Â But I am very aware that it is not fair to burden them with all my emotional reactions to its ending, of the possibility that love had come to me? Â And that love has eluded me?
So Cafe Lady has come and gone, and we three continue together. Â Is there a lesson? Â Or merely an experience? Â One day we will have to fold new people into our lives, and my time with Cafe Lady (and her family) was perhaps a rehearsal for a show that one day I hope we can produce, each with another, and the others with us, in starring roles and supporting roles.
Should I write of future adventures, the trip Ben and I are soon taking to Rome? Â Ben, my Latin scholar, the guy who knows all the Roman (and Greek) gods of mythology, jawing at me about the Republic and the Empire, heading together to the vibrant city on the Tiber. Â A graduation present from me, a week in Rome, based in Trastevere. Â Or should I mention my irritation that Ben has done no preparation for the visit, has not looked at a guide, has not suggested itineraries, not outlined possible adventures for the time in Rome, has not inquired into hours of museums and costs and days when closed, has not learned a single phrase in Italian? Â Or how this specific lack of effort, or lack of imagination, or lack of curiosityÂ about Rome seems to be too much a part of his general approach to the world? Â And how that frustrates and worries me?
Should I acknowledge my concerns about a young man who seemingly never envisions his own future? Â Is it a dearth of imagination on Ben’s part, an inability to articulate a way forward, or a complete denial of reality? Â Is my role to push, pull, rant, encourage, hold the course? Â Is this a parenting failure, or is Ben merely a late bloomer finding his way, with patience the best approach? Â Should I indicate how fundamentally confident I am in my overall approach with Ben, but doubt keeps buffeting me as his maturation progress seems so minimal?
Here are random questions, from a man parenting a deaf son. Â Will there ever be answers? Â And, if so, will the answers generate more questions?
(PS Â Many thanks for past comments! Â Thanks for reading!)
It was in the summer of 1999 when I stumbled upon Cued Speech. Â I had just finished my freshman year of college at Roger Williams University and was getting ready to head down to Washington, DC to participate in LEAP (Leadership Enrichment Adventure Program), a leadership program designed for oral deaf and hard of hearing college age students. Â I’ll admit I was a bit nervous, after all this would be the first time I’d be around this many individuals with hearing loss. Â Although I grew up oral and was fully mainstreamed into my hometown public school this was new, uncharted territory for me. Â I typically was always “the only one” in my school that had a hearing loss using listening and spoken language. Â So I inquired with the program directors at AGBell to see if there were any other participants who wouldn’t mind meeting up before the start of LEAP. Â Sure enough, I was connected to another participant. Â I decided to fly down to Pennsylvania a few days prior to the program to meet her and from there we’d drive together to DC. Â It didn’t take long for me to realize that she and her family were using a very unique communication system, one I hadn’t seen before! Â Of course being full of questions I wanted to know more and quickly found myself learning Cued Speech in a matter of two days. Â I carried my little Cued Speech card (one little business sized card contains the entire system) around for the next week and took every opportunity I had to practice my new skill.
What an exciting time! Â It was then I recognized the value and impact Cued Speech could have in my educational environment. Â As a child, I loved school and my hunger for knowledge was insatiable. Â I got what I needed and thrived, yet I was facing an opposite reaction to college. Â Frustration was high on the list of emotions I was experiencing. Â Freshman year of college was rockyÂ due to the inability to access my academic curriculum in the same manner as my typically hearing peers.
At LEAP I found the missing “key”. Â While a personal FM system coupled with lipreading was an appropriate accommodation for me to access my education growing up in the public school system, unfortunately the same didn’t ring true in college. Â The lecture halls were bigger, the professors “didn’t get it” and I was surrounded by new classmates who didn’t have the first hand knowledge of what to do with a deaf classmate who looked and sounded just like them. Â I tried a sign language interpreter and although sign was effective for me in social situations, it just didn’t work for me academically, thus calculus, organic chemistry and marine biology became more confusing. Â Although I tried, I’m not a native signer and I recognized that immediately. Â I needed my instruction in my native language.
Cued Speech was a tool necessary to access my education, the education I was paying loads of money for; in my first language, English. Â Yes, the cliche “Cued Speech opened doors for me” rang true. Â No longer struggling to acquire lecture information or participate in group activities and discussions, I excelled in the classroom and was afforded the opportunity to fully immerse myself into my college community without worries of “What did I miss today?” or “What time is the tutoring center opening tomorrow morning?” hanging over my head. Â The light at the end of the tunnel suddenly became visible again. Â I found myself learning with ease, enjoying classes and loving college!
“You’re a good girl, you’re a wonderful sister, and you’re a sweetheart of a child.”
I bestowed this valedictory benediction on Maddie, my daughter, for years. Â Gender specific, relationship specific, and then universal — girl, sister, child.
Maddie turned 15 yesterday, and time for me to sing her praises, not exclusively but especially as a sibling of a deaf brother.
At her birth, Ben had not yet lost his hearing to EVA, but would during 1995, within Maddie’s first year on earth. Â But by the time Maddie was cognizant, she was bound to deafness — as part of our family, as part of her life experience, as part of her relationship with Ben, her older sibling.
I cannot recall each instance, it is so woven into our family, but many a time we must have told Maddie to tap or touch Ben, to get his attention, so we could cue to him. Â We must have told Maddie to speak directly to Ben, face to face, so he could see her lips and expression. Â We must have told Maddie to wait to talk, as Ben did not have his hearing aids or (later) his cochlear processor on. Â We must have spoken and explained and elaborated upon an idea or theme to Ben — “red light,” which means we have to stop; “green light,” now we can go — with Maddie as captive audience, getting the repetition and explanation. Â We turned on the captions of the TV, and have watched all videos and television for years with captions on, Maddie watching along with us. We attended open captioned movies, Maddie with Ben and me.
After the divorce, when we three traveled together, Maddie’s role was the more responsible back-up, based on her hearing. Â Whether in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Buenos Aires, or London, she was my assistant, aiding me in relaying information via cueing to Ben.
In the meantime, she got into and succeeded wonderfully in the Spanish immersion program, and is effectively fluent in Spanish (and of course American English). Â She learned Cued Speech completely and fluently when she was six, joining the family at the Cue Camp Friendship many times, a teacher aide the last few camps. Â She has learned to finger spell and knows some signs, and has joined Ben in the Deaf Access theatre troupe based in Bethesda, Maryland. Â She reads broadly and above level. Â She is dramatic and occasionally too sassy. She is an excellent athlete, making the junior varsity field hockey and basketball teams as a high school freshman. Â She is poised and sensitive. Â She is an all-American girl. She is Nancy Drew come to life!
Her relationship with Ben is sweet. Â They have sibling friction, of course, but have a special love and kindness to each other. Â They are physically and emotionally affectionate with each other. Â They gang up on me, mocking and laughing at my ways, my goofiness. Â On our travels, they have joined together as a unit, allowing me (and them!) some individual travel experience. Â Because Maddie can cue, and can hear, I feel safe leaving Ben in Maddie’s care, while Maddie is in Ben’s care for purposes of protection and physical safety.
For me, luck permitted me to have a baby girl, to parent both genders in our two-gender species. Â And with Maddie, fate permitted me the wondrous experience of parenting a deaf and a hearing child. Â I have a unique angle on similarities and differences of boys and girls, of deaf and hearing children, of Ben and Maddie. Â She provides contrast with Ben, making both better. Â The contrast, boy and girl, deaf and hearing, inspires me to be a better parent, a better man.
With the divorce, Maddie has taken on the role of hostess, providing some of the warmth and graciousness that women bring to social gatherings. Â As I have learned to cook and we have expanded our socializing, all three of us have improved our skills as hosts; Maddie has blossomed Â as sous chef, Ben as front-of-the-house host and drinks man. Â In all our adventures, she sparkles. Â The theme of dads and their daughters, always prevalent in literature and life, applies equally to us. Â The essence of the feminine in a baby girl, its charms and beauty, is transcendent. Â And there is nothing like having some female think you are a hero; very good for us dads and our egos!
Deafness is a part of our lives; deafness is part of Maddie’s life, even though she hears. Â Ben, her older sibling, is deaf. Ben uses Cued Speech, Ben has a cochlear implant. Â Maddie knows how to cue; Maddie knows about batteries and infrastructure of a cochlear implant. Â Maddie is hearing, but she hangs with the deaf, at the theatre or in our social events. She signs some, cues proficiently, speaks and reads well, speaks and understands a foreign language, is a scholar and athlete.
My valediction, spoken so many nights as I tucked her in, has come to pass. Â Through love, effort, innate talent, luck, and lots of outside assistance, Maddie fulfilled the benediction. She is a great girl, a fantastic sister, and an elegant and delightful child. Â Happy birthday to my favorite girl in all the world. Â Happy birthday, Maddie!
I love when I stumble upon videos concerning Cued Speech.Â I found this video on YouTube. Iâ€™m glad it was captioned.Â The person in the video is a BSL user who used Cued Speech until she was 7 years old and then switched to signing.Â Now, as an adult, she wishes she had continued to use Cued Speech together with signing, and is going back to school to relearn it.Â I find her openness and willingness to learn Cued Speech to be refreshing.Â I so often see negative posts from those whoâ€™ve never learned Cued Speech.Â
I wish I knew more about this ladyâ€™s background.Â I wonder why she switched at age 7. I wonder if her family, or school, or someone else was the primary influence for the change.Â I wonder how she will do learning as an adult.Â I hope I find more videos from her.
To show you how so very important prosody is in communication,Â I’ve embedded two short videos of myself cueing several short sentences, one with prosody, one without. See which one you can get the most meaning out of:
What were the differences?
In the second video, I used prosodic markers like longer and shorter pauses, elongated words/vowels to show stress, and body language. You could far more easily tell what the most important words were, and what meanings I meant to convey.
So, would you rather watch someone cueing with, or without prosody?
You probably said “WITH!!”
I agree. As I mentioned in my first post on this subject, watching someone who cues with almost no prosody can be boring. They also convey much less meaning. For this reason, it is important to get into the habit of cueing prosody. Especially if you’re a transliterator… Different speakers will have very different ways of using prosody.