Cued Speech and American Sign Language (ASL)
95% percent of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are born to hearing parents. If the parents choose to learn a whole new language – typically American Sign Language (ASL) or another signed language – the child will only acquire language as quickly the parents are able to learn to sign. ASL and other signed languages have their own grammatical structures that must be learned along with the signs. In addition, as English develops new words, ASL often develops new signs...an ongoing process. In contrast, Cued Speech is a visual code for transmitting spoken language. It can be learned in less than 20 hours of instruction and has a finite set of handshapes/locations to be used with any word. Parents are able to fully communicate with their children, in their own native language, almost immediately.
If a deaf child is born to a family where the parents are also deaf, and ASL is the native language of the family, that child will most likely learn ASL as his primary language – and could learn English as a second language via the use of Cued Speech. Likewise, a deaf child who learns English via Cued Speech as his first language may learn ASL as a second language. This is desirable so that the child is able to socialize with other deaf individuals who sign.
For families wish to be bilingual in English and ASL, Cued Speech provides an effective tool for developing English proficiency, freeing ASL to be used for signed communication in its purest form! Many “Cue Kids” learn ASL by their teen years. They generally prefer English for academics and communication with hearing people and ASL for communication with others who are deaf.
Cued Speech and Cochlear Implants
According to studies published in 2010, Cued Speech improves speech perception, speech reading abilities, and first language development for children with cochlear implants. Cued Speech can be used before an implant to lay the foundation for language. Cued Speech can be used after an implant, as a supplement, until the implant is fully functional — and as a backup system in noise or when the implant is not being used or malfunctioning. Cued Speech and cochlear implants are PERFECT PARTNERS!
Cued Speech and Literacy
Delayed acquisition of language caused by hearing loss often hampers the ability to learn to read. As a result, many deaf adults can struggle with reading and writing English proficiently. Cued Speech facilitates the achievement of an individual’s full potential for literacy.
Results of research studies have consistently shown that native deaf Cuers with no additional learning or processing difficulties have achieved literacy levels comparable to or beyond their hearing peers. The studies that focus on deaf Cueing children (aged 7-16) have shown them to score higher than deaf signing and oral peers on several standardized reading and writing tests. Recent data show that deaf adult Cuers decode phonemic information much as hearing adults do (National Cued Speech Association).
Case Studies done on nine deaf students that attended AGBMS, during 1997-2004, show that each of these students left our program with reading and language levels at or above grade level based on scores from the Stanford Test of Achievement. Additional reviews of students since 2004 show that all of them made significant gains in their reading and language levels.