Name of organisation:
Cued Speech Association UK
What does your organisation do?
The Cued Speech Association UK is a national charity run by parents and professionals users of Cued Speech; it is the only organisation in the UK which provides Cued Speech information and training. Information is vitally important because, without it, deaf children are not able to benefit from Cued Speech simply because their parents do not know about it.
Cued Speech is a simple and extremely cost-effective system of cues - eight hand-shapes in four positions near the mouth together with normal speech - which totally clarify lipreading. It’s consistent use overcomes the problems that:
1. many of the 90% of deaf children born to hearing parents struggle to understand and communicate with their families
2. many deaf children have problems understanding and using English – including written English – making it harder for them to succeed in education and employment.
Cued Speech can be learned by hearing parents and teachers in only 20 hours. It can transform the lives of deaf children by giving them complete access to spoken language in real time. They can then develop an understanding of English which will give them access to the language of hearing family members and the wider community.
As Professor Ruth Campbell wrote*: ‘The importance of Cued Speech is that it opens up the world of spoken language to the deaf child in a clear and simple way, from the outset. This has…… the potential to allow a form of the traditionally spoken language to develop naturally in a deaf child, via a communication modality that the child and the child’s caregiver can use easily, fluently, and collaboratively.’
This full understanding of English (or other spoken languages) leads to high literacy levels.
Research by ‘Alegria and Leybaert, with collegues led by Périer, started in Belgium 20 years ago……… has shown conclusively that children exposed consistently to Cued Speech gained and maintained a headstart over deaf children of similar intelligence and skill who did not have Cued Speech. Those who started using Cued Speech before school were even more likely to forge ahead, often with literacy levels and styles indistinguishable from hearing children.*’
Cued Speech is not exclusive; it can be used to supplement the use of hearing aids and implants or it can be used bilingually with British Sign Language. It is used with other spoken languages and in many different countries.
*quotes taken from the FORWARD to Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children edited by Carol J. LaSasso, Kelly Lamar Crain and Jacqueline Leybaert, October 30, 2009. Forward written by Ruth Campbell, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences Division of Psychology and Language Sciences University College London. Professor Campbell co-founded the Deafness, Cognition, and Language Centre at University College London in 2005.