Editor’s Note – Spring 2013

by Sarah Segal
Cochlear implants are sort of a mixed blessing—it has both produced opportunities for deaf children and impeded them in their overreliance on them. It isn’t a cure-all and it certainly isn’t for everybody, either, for better or worse. In this issue, we will show how Cued Speech—and even, at times, American Sign Language—continues to provide powerful opportunities for students that technology is still limited in doing.

In “Cued Speech and the “New Deaf” Student,” by Alison Candela, an interpreter in Montgomery County Public Schools, we are offered a fresh take on the issues of working with students with cochlear implants. She calls the students who have impressive listening devices “the new deaf” students, who have “very different needs from most deaf students in the recent past,” and asks us whether listening technology has “made Cued Speech obsolete in their education.” Over the course of the article, she then refutes this argument, using personal and empirical experience as support.

I, too, have written an article, “Lauren’s Road,” recounting an experience working with an eighteen year old who is deaf and languageless to acquire language as a volunteer with the International Rescue Committee. “Lauren” had no physical or intellectual condition that hindered her from acquiring a language, save for the passing of the critical period—she was simply born deaf in a country where she was not afforded the opportunities that our children receive. You will learn how working with “Lauren” to acquire American Sign Language gave me insight into capacity for young people to—even so late in the game—acquire language.

In the face of these opportunities for our children, it’s time to refocus our goals. It’s time to recognize what our children are capable of and what we can do to make it easier for them to perform at their absolute best. Assistive technology will always be around, but Cued Speech may not, and it’s high time we realize that what we do now will impact our children in the future. What we do to keep Cued Speech alive for future generations will be felt for years to come.

If you have any advice you would like to share with other members of our community, please let us know at ssegal@cuedspeech.org. Consider contributing an article if you would like. We’re all eyes!

Sarah Segal is a deaf adult cuer and Special Education Paraeducator in the Cued Speech program at Flower Valley Elementary School in Rockville, MD.

She is currently trying (failing) to read all the books on her bookshelf before buying more and pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing (poetry) at American University in Washington, D.C. She lives in Fairfax, VA, with her lovely boyfriend, Jonathan.

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