Next up : What is Cued Speech

What is Cued Speech?

Cued Speech is a visual mode of communication in which mouth movements of speech combine with “cues” to make the sounds (phonemes) of traditional spoken languages look different.  Cueing allows users who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have language / communication disorders to access the basic, fundamental properties of spoken languages through the use of vision.

There are 8 hand shapes and 6 places to touch.

I am not going to write out every detail regarding to Cued Speech.  It is not Sign Language.  Sign Language is own language.  I will do another blog entry about that.  

To learn more about Cued Speech, check out the link below:

National Cued Speech Association

Basically in my terms of explaining Cued Speech it is a visual way to help show phonetics sounds of spoken English or any other language.   

Lip reading is not easy.  You have to concentrate and you have to figure out the pieces of the puzzle to know what the conversation is.   Sometimes I figure it out and sometimes I’m way off topic.  Did you know that words can look the same on the lips? Go stand in the mirror and say the word men, ben and pen without any sound coming from your lips.  Do the words look the same?     Now try the word secretary and cemetery.

Not so easy to tell the difference is it? 

Cued Speech shows the phonetic breakdown of the word.   So men, ben and pen can show the difference of the beginning sound (M, B, and P) as the en sound is the same placement.   The hand shapes represent constant sounds and the placement of the hand goes to represents the vowel sounds.   This is all from my simple explaining.    

Now that I look back on it I can see why the audiologist suggested this to my parents and how I absorbed all the information as best as I could.  Language was the key in their opinion.

Cued Speech is not that well known in as Sign Language is.  For an example,  if you look at movies and tv shows, Sign Language is used.    Cued Speech is not.    I would love to see Cued Speech just known more.  You do not have to use it, just know that it is out there!

It’s just another tool, communication method out there.  Some people out there prefer Sign Language over Cued Speech which is totally fine with me.  If that is what you want then go for it.   Everyone should respect everyone’s choices of how they communicate, period.   I do not believe one method of communication will overtake another method.

When I was younger, I thought my classmates and I were cool because we could Cue and not everyone would know what we were saying.  It was like a code.  I would totally name us:  The Super Cuer Spies!   Kinda geeky huh?

Here are are a few blog entries from Hands and Voices that you might be interested in reading regarding to Cued Speech:

Hands and Voices Blog


Books I have to mention books!  I wish there were more out there.  First book I want to mention is  Choices of Deafness by Sue Schwartz.

What it is about:
From assessment and diagnosis to medical/audiological treatments, and from the latest types of cochlear implants and procedures to education and technology devices, this new edition presents a balance of research, guidance, and insight from experts and families.

Seven new chapters plus a collection of audio files cover:
UNIVERSAL NEWBORN SCREENING (implemented in 38 states, this required screening detects hearing loss much earlier, and has doubled the number of children found to have hearing loss)  AUDITORY NEUROPATHY (a cause of hearing loss where the timing of sound is seriously disrupted, and which has only recently been understood)  GENETIC CAUSES OF DEAFNESS (describes genetic testing and counseling in light of research that shows over 60% of deafness in children is due to genetic or hereditary causes)  THE TRANSFORMATION OF DREAMS (explores a shift in emotional outlook experienced by a parent/clinical psychologist upon learning her child is deaf) IDENTIFYING A PROGRAM OF EXCELLENCE (what to look for in an education program for your child in addition to the chosen communication option) COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (services and devices that let deaf people communicate via phone, cell phone, Internet, video) MAKING IT IN COLLEGE (personal accounts of four students about how they communicate and socialize at college) WHAT HEARING LOSS SOUNDS LIKE (a sampling of audio files that simulate what speech sounds like when hearing loss impacts pitch, loudness, and timing).

CHOICES IN DEAFNESS presents five unbiased approaches to communication–Auditory-Verbal, ASL-English Bilingual, Cued Speech, Auditory-Oral, and Total Communication–and provides parents’ first-person accounts of what it’s like to use a specific method.


Another book is Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. 

What it is about:
This much-anticipated scholarly volume promises to be an essential/must-have resource for anyone who is interested in natural language acquisition, the development of reading, and academic achievement of deaf and hard of hearing children. It is a compilation of research and practical applications of cued speech and cued language, authored by 39 authors from nine different fields of study (speech science, hearing science, linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, cognition, transliteration, computer science, and deaf education) in four countries. This theoretically and empirically based volume is a vital source of information to any advocate, professional, or parent of a deaf child. It promises to be a required book in graduate courses in deaf education programs as well as libraries of schools serving deaf children across the country.






How I Became Deaf

Long time ago in a land far away, there was a little girl who had many adventures out in the green grassy meadow.  The hot sun gleamed its light down on the grass while grasshoppers were moving about and the clouds were passing by.  The swings moved with the wind as laughter could be heard.  (This description up above is a concept of what my backyard was like back in the day)

I was living in Omaha, Nebraska at the time when I was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf.

How did I get diagnosed?

Well my mom noticed that I was not responding to my name as much.  She would call out my name from the kitchen when I was in the family room.  The house had an open concept.  I did not always hear her call me.  That was the first catch.  The second catch was when  I spoke sometimes I was not speaking full sentences.  I believe I was at the age of four or so.  I always thought it was around the age of 5 to 6 when this happened.  I was just really young, let’s say that!  Anyways, I should have been talking more.   My mom noticed a difference because my  younger brother who is one year apart was saying full sentences like  :  I need my coat to go outside because it is cold.  I was not saying those things.  My mom knew something was up.

*cue the drama music*

Somehow from what I can remember, my parents and I ended up at Boys Town Institute in the city.  I have no idea where my brothers were.  Perhaps they were being watched by our neighbors.  Anyways  I remember having hearing tests done, bone testing done and some other tests.  One of the tests was having wires on my temple and forehead for brain activity, maybe.  All I remember is the specialist saying “hold still.”  Now that I think back on it, I felt like Frankenstein laying there on the cold stainless steel slab.   It was so strange at the time.  I also had a CAT scan done.  That part I was put under I believe.  I was in the hospital in a bed where I was holding this  stuffed animal  (I think I still have it in a box somewhere)  and I was given a shot.  Boy I hated that!  Shots are evil. Next thing I know I am in a wheelchair for a bit.   Suddenly I fell asleep.  I do not think they would want me to be awake during the process of this.  No one wants a freaked out child.  I believe the doctors and everyone who was involved wanted to make sure my brain was functioning  properly.  It was perfectly fine.

After all the testing, they told my parents that I was profoundly deaf.  Basically the definition of profound deafness is anybody who cannot hear a sound below 90dB has profound deafness.

In general terms :  my right ear I cannot hear anything and my left ear is the one that can hear some.    I am not going to go into explaining my chart and all that.  ( I was told later in life that I have nerve damage in my ears. I probably need to look up old audiology charts of this in the archives to confirm it.)   It is weird what I can hear with my hearing aid and without.  I will do another post about that later.

What happened next?

Hearing aids were the next step.  I had the an analog hearing aid from Oticon for my left ear.  (Sadly they do not make them anymore!)    An ear mold was made.  I am pretty sure it felt weird for the first time and even to this day it does feel odd.  Odd but a familiar feeling.  The specialists and audiologist did extended testing to make sure I understood things.  I believe the specialist wanted to see where my language levels were.   I remember them doing word and reading testing.

The audiologist realized that I could lip read really well.   They suggested Cued Speech to my parents since I could lip read so well.    My parents were taught it.  My mom learned quicker than my dad did.  Of course my dad was working his butt off to support my mom and his three kids.  He did try his best!!   My one brother did learn Cued Speech  later and my other brother just caved into the philosophy of talking to me.  He always made sure that I could understand him.  Pretty cool family!

I learned quite a bit with the hearing aid, Cued Speech and my family taking the time to communicate with me by talking and Cueing.  The closed caption was on the tv all the time.  It was mostly PBS shows:  Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, Reading Rainbow.  Sadly cartoons were a bit trickier to follow.  I still am a fan of She-Ra, He-Man, Carebears and Strawberry Shortcake.   Have you ever tried to lipread cartoons?  It is so not fun or easy.  I ended up probably having different story lines going on rather than then real story.

My family treated me like a normal kid.  I had no special treatment.  I am pretty sure my parents felt sad and in shock.  They had a challenge ahead.  Since my mom was a teacher, her instinct kicked in realizing that I would need help.  My mom did  TONS of work with me.  Sometimes I liked it and sometimes I did not.    My family did their best with me with everything.

I was the only one in my entire family that was deaf.  Everyone talked to me. They always made sure that I could understand them which was cool.   The one thing that I did find out later in 2006ish time was that that my great  great grandmother from my dad’s side of the family attended the Deaf School in Minnesota.  I wonder perhaps that gene came from there or what?   Who knows?

I have to point out that when I was at Boys Town Institute was that they had an indoor playground area for children.  I do not remember what floor it was but oh my gosh!  I loved that playground and kept going down the slide over and over and over.  I am pretty sure my mom had to drag me out a few times.  It was magical!

This is my short story of how I was diagnosed as being deaf

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining my blog about various topics.  I already have a blog on about books and reading.  This blog will be about whatever comes to my mind: deaf, parenting, life, dating (if I ever get around to that), antiques, movies, tv shows and more!  You may or may not agree with me.   Everyone is on a different journey in life.  Maybe sharing a bit of thoughts to the world might help someone too.

I used to blog all the time back in the day of my college years and I would ramble away. This was done through livejournal.  Time has flown by and many things have changed! Let’s see what plops out onto this blog.  I do have another blog which is mostly about books.

Creek nearby my town