Illinois School for the Deaf Pilots Use of Cued Speech

by Charlie Musser Against longstanding tradition held among schools for the deaf, which typically advocate ASL-only or ASL/written English bilingual education, the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) began using Cued Speech in selected high school classrooms for reading and language instruction in 2010. After observing increases in reading levels, they expanded its use into selected elementary school classrooms.

ISD, a state-supported public school for deaf and hard of hearing students between three to 21 years old, was founded in 1839 and is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. ISD Superintendent Dr. Janice Smith-Warshaw and pre-K-8 Principal Angela Kuhn estimate that ISD currently serves approximately 230 deaf and hard of hearing students in early intervention and pre-K-12th grade school programs. Its philosophy is to be “an accessible ASL/English bilingual community in which people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing learn and work together without language and communication barriers” (Full policy:

To ensure ISD students are receiving a truly bilingual education, Kuhn said that “the separation of ASL and English is emphasized in the ASL and English Bilingual Professional Development (AEBPD) program. When both languages are used together (i.e., Simultaneous Communication [SimCom]), one language suffers. Separating the languages allows the user to present a clearer message for educational purposes. For example, a teacher may present a lecture to students using only ASL. Then, follow up questions from the lesson may be achieved in only printed English. The goal is to preserve the integrity of both languages, while also increasing students’ knowledge and use of each one.”

In January 2006, several administrators from ISD attended a meeting of the Illinois Supervisors of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals group, during which Dr. Beverly Trezek, a researcher and associate professor of Literacy and Specialized Instruction at DePaul University, presented about literacy. Dr. Trezek’s research focuses on the reading achievement among students who are deaf and hard of hearing. “She emphasized the importance of a phonological approach to teaching reading to deaf students through the Direct Instruction curriculum using Visual Phonics,” Kuhn said.

Visual Phonics is a system of 46 hand signs and written symbols used in phonics instruction to foster the connection between written and spoken language. It is an educational tool employed to help any student, deaf or hearing, who has difficulty internalizing English phonemes, learn to read.

After the presentation, Dr. Trezek was invited by ISD administrators to serve as a reading consultant, a position she still holds today. “Dr. Beverly Trezek, our literacy consultant, was consistently identifying a need to intensely address English vocabulary and syntax,” Kuhn said. The decision to look into Cued Speech was made when limitations within Visual Phonics became clear to Dr. Beverly Trezek as well as ISD administrators and educators.

Dr. Trezek said, “Within a sign bilingual setting, we found that students were making gains in their phonological skills as a result of receiving instruction from the Direct Instruction curricula supplemented by Visual Phonics. However, we were not seeing comparable increases in reading comprehension due to the demands of English syntax and grammar.”

“Since Visual Phonics provides sublexical (phoneme) and lexical (word) representations only, a spoken or signed form of English would need to be used to attend to the syntactical features of English. This prompted educators to explore Cued Speech since it was more closely aligned with a sign bilingual philosophy.”

Aaron Rose, a native cuer and educator for the deaf and hard of hearing in Aurora, Colorado, agrees that Visual Phonics has limitations. “I recognized the benefits for direct instruction in the area of phonemic awareness, decoding, and articulation. However, I struggled to see how it would support overall language acquisition since, based on my training, there was no way to convey spoken language fluently in real time,” said Rose.

“I couldn’t match the same rate of spoken language expression with Visual Phonics that I could through Cued Speech…. Because Visual Phonics is not a consonant vowel system, it is not able to convey spoken language syllabically. As a result, Visual Phonics doesn’t show co-articulation in running speech, while Cued Speech has the ability to convey spoken language at a natural rate.”

Kuhn also noted that, for teachers, Visual Phonics “was difficult to use in demonstrating multisyllabic words… It was also not conducive to use when monitoring students’ decoding abilities beyond single words or simple sentences.”

According to Kuhn, educators at ISD “saw [in Cued Speech] the potential to intensely address English vocabulary and syntax, implement the phonics-based reading curricula with fidelity, and maintain the integrity of our school’s bilingual framework calling for separation of English and ASL.”

After two teachers learned Cued Speech, ISD ran a pilot study using Cued Speech in one high school reading class in the 2010–2011 academic year. When the pilot study showed potential with Cued Speech, ISD administrators expanded the pilot during the 2012–2013 school year by adding Cued Speech into its pre-K-8th grade program as part of its phonics programs and reading curricula. “We asked all teachers in the [pre-K-8th grade] program last year to introduce the students to Cued Speech using direct, systematic phonics programs that are part of our greater reading curricula,” said Kuhn.

During the recent school year, ISD administrators collected the majority of their data from one elementary class that used Cued Speech during reading and language instruction. Over the course of the school year, its three deaf and hard of hearing students “saw an average of two years’ gain on the reading subtest of the Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of Academic Progress (NWEA). These gains were similar on the Renaissance STAR Reading assessment. On the Developing Writer’s Assessment (DWA), these students improved four levels in one school year,” Kuhn said.

When asked how using Cued Speech helps cover the gap between providing sublexical and lexical information to providing syntactical information, Dr. Trezek said, “Cued Speech provides a visual representation of both the phonology and syntax English, which allows educators in a sign bilingual setting to present the Direct Instruction reading, writing, and language lessons with greater fidelity. In other words, the lessons can be presented in English as intended, rather than interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL). This maintains the integrity of literacy instruction and avoids reading and writing becoming a task of translating from English to ASL and vice versa.”

While the initial results of the pilot are promising, Dr. Smith-Warshaw and Kuhn recognize that the use of Cued Speech at the school varies and thus refrained from making broad conclusions at this time. “Use of Cued Speech is determined by multiple factors, including linguistic accommodations documented in student IEPs, subject, and teacher proficiency. In one class, a majority of reading and language instruction is provided through Cued Speech. In other classrooms, Cued Speech is used to support vocabulary and phonics instruction,” Kuhn said.

Following the introduction of Cued Speech at ISD, parental responses to its use have been varied and Smith-Warshaw and Kuhn are sensitive to parents’ preferences for their child’s development: “[S]everal parents have expressed support and requested their child be given an opportunity to learn and use [Cued Speech],” Kuhn said. “On the other hand, we’ve had parents request their child not use [Cued Speech], and we respect their choice.”

“For the most part, the students have been receptive to the Cued Speech implementation. Students who [have] learned the system have asked teachers to cue new words and challenged themselves to use Cued Speech in new contexts. This isn’t to say it hasn’t been challenging for them to learn a new mode of communicating English in reading and language class. Some students have been uncomfortable using [Cued Speech] expressively, and we’ve respected their feelings.”

To assist with improving literacy levels at the school, Kuhn said the ISD administration strives to provide most students in the pre-K-8th grade program with a Cued Speech-trained teacher for reading classes. Kuhn asserts that administrators will continue to observe, record and analyze data on its use before making further changes.

“As we continue to monitor student growth and gather teacher feedback, we will be prepared to make further decisions regarding the use of [Cued Speech]. It is our hope the [Cued Speech] implementation helps us improve our student literacy levels on the path toward accomplishing ISD’s vision ‘to educate responsible, self-supporting citizens’.”

The Illinois School for the Deaf is accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education, the North Central Association, and the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.

Note from the Editor: Teachers and staff at ISD are generally not permitted to speak with journalists or media outlets unless approved by the Department of Human Services (DHS). On Cue was able to obtain permission to correspond with Superintendent Dr. Janice Smith-Warshaw and pre-K–8 principal Angela Kuhn. We thank them for their support of this article and willingness to interview with us.

Note from the Associate Editor: I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit ISD in the summer of 2012. I have no doubt that the majority of educators at the school are committed to providing their students with a solid ASL and English bilingual education. They are keenly aware that the use of Cued Speech in a school for the deaf is rare, and are very sensitive to not only the needs of each student, but their families’ needs and desires as well. I applaud them for the work that they are doing.

47 thoughts on “Illinois School for the Deaf Pilots Use of Cued Speech

  1. I think it is very stupid should not used cued speech also cochlear so my strong support asl cuz I raise up to isd school love asl wish they never change cued etc which it is stupid support a s l

  2. I have attended there in 1982-83. School was very good, with using ASL, is very easy to understand and very useful for the education. Deaf life ALREADY being created for happy lifetime. Why fix it if it is not broken? Cued speech doesn’t make sense, but forcing all deaf children to be like the hearing people. Beside I feel that is destroying the deaf culture AND deaf world. That is inhuman way to do that. Please, remove cued speech out of this ISD where I was “raised” there. Please let the deaf culture stay alive and well. SORRY, because I stand up for what is for right and of course I am voice for deaf people especially children. DON’T fix it what is not broken!!

  3. Oh Well. I think it is not good idea too use cued speech. Asl taught them everything. Cued tought only english. What is point.

  4. I disagree about this. I was at ISD during 82-85 I learn lot about ASL cuz it’s easy to commutation w ASL signs with people.. ASL should be stay at ISD and better for deaf culture.. We don’t need cued speech at all cuz we r 100% deaf and happy with ASL!!!!

  5. After learning those cued speech, then go to NTID and failed! Why? No Cued at NTID! Blame ISD and flopped!

  6. I been was at isd for 5 years. I graduated in 2 years. They started doing cued speech when I was in sophomore year. Cued speech made me confused and struggled to understand. I noticed out of world I don’t see any deaf people use cued speech. What is the point to use cued speech for? We have many things and ways to communicate with hearing people.

  7. I read the article and find that the article explains clearly why ISD choose to use Cued Speech as a TOOL in addition to continuing with ASL at the school. It seems many of the comments showed that people do not understand. I also spoke with both staff and teachers who work at the school, both whom are for and against. There seems to be lots of bias and misconceptions regarding Cued Speech. Some information I got seems to have valid concerns. Yet, on the whole, I can’t help but feel that there is a severe lack of understanding on what Cued Speech is and what it is not.

    Clearly ISD is not replacing ASL. Cued Speech is a tool. And, ISD and many other deaf schools and mainstream with deaf/hh programs have used Visual Phonics for years. Yet we never saw anyone complaint about it. What this tells me is the lack of understanding/education about Cued Speech. Visual Phonics isn’t working, obviously (as a tool) and Cued Speech seems promising. I look forward to the full data coming out so that we can see whether or not Cued Speech is helping the students reading and English scores be on par with their hearing peers.

    Nice article! :)

  8. One of comment mentioned abt some parents choose their children not to use cued speech program and they do Respect them. I am sorry but that was incorrect information. I am the parent who against that because cued speech is tool for Deaf people who could speak well but missing the vowels. It’s also good for those students who doesn’t have language use at home so that would help those students to learn easier. They said that the cued speech rating of improvement was amazing result. That was based on only specific 4 students. They forced everyone else to use cued speech constantly regardless if parents agree or not. I have fought so hard and feel so bad for those parents who doesn’t stand up for their kids or understand how does it work. Yes they re using cued speech through the day! Not just for the reading or language part. All day! So sad!!

    If they want cued speech, provide the extra curriculum like speech program not involve with lessons because it’s a time wasting!! They don’t think Deaf people are capable to do anything wonderful! They look us down! Using us as their monkey science! They treated me awful two years ago. Last year was different because they re on a hot seat so treating me so well.. 2-timer face!

  9. Cued speech. It is supposed to be used as a “tool” but clearly it isn’t. It is used as a language through out the day, and children are so confused left and right what to use, what is right, scold when not used, especially those who comes from a family that already has access to communication. Improvements is biased obviously on certain students who are trained from the very start on using them. If you taught them Spanish all day as well, of course they would show improvements too. I am not against learning a new tool, but I am against how it is used and forced on students who don’t want to or do not benefit from it. There is no respect or boundaries inside the classroom for those who do suffer from it. I Can only hope this change somehow soon within the power of children’s’ parents before it is too late. We have lost a lot of students because of this. Smart deaf children to be specific have left or refuse to come to ISD with the program that is provided improperly. I could say so much more but it’s useless when it’s all about control and their way only. Someday, maybe a smart deaf person can put them back in their seat and take over. That is our wish, to bring back what ISD really is about in the first place.

  10. I know a lot of folks who go to ISD and the actual conversation taking place there is absolutely awesome. The students themselves are incredibly open minded and having mature conversations about the purpose of Cued Speech. So far, it seems like most of the folks commenting here are uninformed on what Cued Speech actually is and what the effects are. Don’t you want to be able to see exactly what people say in English? Who cares whether you can hear or not, we have the right to know what people around us are saying and as a result, be able to use English proficiently, don’t we?

  11. I am against CUED tool! why do we always allowed hearing teachers taking in a charge to change the communication system among the Deaf children? when Deaf teachers want to continue in using ASL as our first language and still we being barrier .., we live in our own Deaf culture and understand what our needs are. We know how to adjust our teaching style including ASL to Deaf children. Dont let hearing teachers ruling everything as they never raise in pure Deaf culture. Again, its only pilot.

  12. This is Going NO WHERE and a WASTE OF TIME Its all about MONEY and OPPRESSION They are A.G.Bell Members Peroid. They Know CI is not successful and still do it and dont care about Deaf babies or Kids and now cue speech same thing ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY and Make Deaf People SUFFER =( WE Need a Deaf martin luther king jr Damn

  13. Brilliant that ISD are giving their students a tool to develop full literacy in English alongside their native ASL. Without fluent reading and writing skills it is very difficult for Deaf students to fully achieve their potential when they leave school.

    And for the parent who said that Cued Speech is only for “Deaf people who could speak well but only missing the vowels”, that is simply untrue. Cued Speech offers complete visual access to the whole language in real time (including grammar and syntax) and is totally independent of any hearing or speech skills the Deaf student may have. In fact, it’s more Deaf Aware than many equivalent systems (eg VP) because it doesn’t assume or require any hearing or speech at all. The ‘speech’ aspect is receptive; far from trying to force students to speak it is instead respecting the integrity and value of ASL and enabling the two languages to be kept separate so they can both develop properly.

    Why on earth are people so upset at the idea of these students being given a truly bilingual education and the chance to become fully literate?

  14. Oh Boy!, I am so strongly disagree with damn Cued Speech!, I was been there at ISD from 1985 to 1988 which I graduated it from there with our own communication language, ASL, not damn Cued Speech Language!, We bet it that Cued Speech will destroys it over that!, We must fighting it and overcome against damn Cued Speech to restore it on our own communication language, ASL!, They are so stupid ideas about that at ISD!, We hope that They will understand what We are feelings about that! Thanks for understanding!

  15. I think that the school using Cued Speech as a tool to achieve literacy is a wondrrful idea and am happy with the success stories coming from it. The importance of communication is so high in relationships betweem humans, having every available method at the students’ disposal makes conplete sense. Why send a child into the world without giving them every chance at success you can?

  16. As a parent I chose cued speech for my child because I want him to be a fluent English speaker and writer. In order to teach a child a language you should be fluent in it, and I am not fluent in ASL. It would have taken a long time to get fluent, and I didn’t want to delay communication/language acquisition. I am a native English speaker and cued speech is a visual representation of English. The word order is different in ASL as evidenced by some of the comments made. There is nothing wrong with that, and that is how many other languages are, but most people is the US read and write in English. That is what is expected on standardized tests, in college and in the work place. I can not change other peoples expectations but I can equip him to meet them. Simply put, I want my child to read and write in English just like his peers. I do not want him to be grade levels behind (or worse separated from his peers) for leaving out articles and incorrect word order. He already uses plural/possessive words and articles correctly when some kids his age don’t yet. He also has a vocabulary on target or above for his age. Depends on which test you look at.

  17. Cued speech does not destroy deaf culture as they (cued speech and ASL) work together. Reading the comments above you can see those who are against cued speech have lousy grammar and are not literate. They don’t find facts for themselves and believe the rumors from naysayers. Find out facts before posting nonsense comments!

  18. Language Development is important for child in early life in order to adequately exchange information with others in a meaningful way. So how can a child in early life to develop language?
    Hearing child would learn to speak as a way to communication with parents and learn to ask and share information with others before they learn to read and write. So how can a Deaf child to have adequately exchange information with other if he can’t hear? Deaf child will benefit this by using American Sign Language early in life for language development.
    I suggest you meet Deaf Adults from all walks of life and how they have high level of reading and writing skills. Have you thought about high percent of Deaf adults from Deaf family have better reading and writing level than those from hearing family? Why? Because they have language development early in their life.
    My main concern here is if they try Cued speech on Deaf Child and it does not work, their language development is “damaged” and won’t have high level of reading and writing in adult life. So who will suffer this? The Deaf adult. Not superintendent, principal, teacher, counselor or parent. If you go for cued speech, make sure they use ASL for their daily communications in classes other than speech therapy in case cued speech does not work; they continue to have language development early in life.

  19. Cued speech may be an idea but honestly, this man-made theory is not most effective way for students to improve their language. I believe in bilingual which is English and ASL and deaf people depend on that by visual so having that “theory” will fail. It WILL distracts their learning cause that will take more time in learning cued speech and that cause delay in learning and highly possible more likely have repeat a curriculum if a student failed a course. Illinois School for the Deaf should think twice to see what is most effective way to teach their students and prepares them for future. I am sorry to say this but I think the State of Illinois government thought this was a good idea but unfortunately they don’t know anything about the deaf so they depends on the school administration and the reason why this school is still open is probably because the administration brought in this cued speech idea and the government were persuaded to keep the school open. Just saying… I wish the best for ISD, I won’t put my kids there if they continue to practice cued speech.

  20. Its ruin our deaf culture and the students will transfer to the other schools of the cued programs. American Sign Language are # 1 forever because Laurent Clec was teaching us to spread across the USA. Now, the CUED put into new world in the futures. THAT HURT SO MUCH ON OUR DEAF CULTURES. Our rights to tell you that rid of the CUED programs for good.

    Must contact to the NAD right now, they will fight over those cued programs before too late. Lets START Petitions NOW !!!!

  21. My child has been exposed to Cued Speech for 33 1/2 of his 36 years, and he is STILL Deaf, with a capital D. Cued Speech has not made him not deaf, either physically or socially or culturally. He attended a public school with CLTs and learned English via CS as his first language because we are hearing parents, and that’s our native language. He simply was exposed to English first because we wanted him to have the same thing that deaf parents want for their child–communication. We never wanted him to have to leave our home, or to have to leave other family and neighborhood friends to attend school elsewhere, and we were lucky because he didn’t. He graduated from our local high school an honor student, reading at a high level, and is now a fully active, tax-paying citizen. CUED SPEECH did not hurt him; it helped him. Cued Speech is only a tool; it is not a language. The language he reads and writes is English, and I hope he is very proud of that. The language he USES most often is ASL. He is a fluent ASL signer, is married to a fluent ASL signer, and he graduated from Gallaudet after being selected to work on the university yearbook. He served on the university newspaper staff, was elected to a fraternity, and was voted homecoming king. He was fully integrated into Gallaudet life then, and he continues to be Deaf even though we still cue to him. Would we as parents have done anything differently if we had it to do again? Yes, we’d have had him exposed to ALS sooner. With that being said, Cued Speech was the RIGHT choice for our son and our family. It’s unfair of some to talk badly about Cued Speech if you really don’t know about it and how it works. I sing the praises of ASL because I know it makes my son happy to be able to communicate so fully and comfortably with his deaf peers. BUT, I also sing the praises of Cued Speech because it makes him happy to comfortably communicate with hearing peers, as well.

  22. There is a long history of discrimination against Deaf people and incorrect beliefs that ASL was not a language. People wrongly looked at signed languages as crude gestures without linguistic rules. They were ignorant and they were proven wrong. They did not know what they needed to learn about ASL. The observed signs and spoke opinions that were not facts – probably without malice, but none-the-less wrong. People do the the same thing when it comes to Cued Speech. They believe it must be like other attempts to get rid of signed languages or perhaps a system that borrows signs and destroys the integrity of ASL in an attempt to show English. Those attempts not only failed, they were harmful. But that’s not what Cued Speech is. When people oppose CS I often ask them to tell me what it is. They say a few buzzwords, but don’t really know what it is. Their argument might be based in the pride they feel in their language – ASL. Perhaps it is out of fear that their culture or language is being threatened or that the dominant language is encroaching to once again oppress them. In reality, Cued Speech does neither. At some point, the Deaf community achieve equality when it can comfortably and confidently accept the idea that bilingual education is possible with ASL and English (delivered visually). Cued Speech actually preserves ASL. It does not borrow signs. It does not try to change them. Cued Speech makes English visual. It provides access for deaf people. It’s easy to oppose something that is different especially when one is proud of one’s culture and language. However, arguing about what CS is or will do without any real experience is a lot like what hearing people used to to when they watched signing. Hopefully, our community will realize there is power in collaboration, education, and open-mindedness.

  23. I totally agree with comments 27 and 28. Their authors are obliviously informed and educated. Those naysayers should take time to find facts before speaking.

  24. I am a native cuer and I also am proud to be a member of the Deaf community. I grew up in mainstreamed schools using Cued Speech and did not learn ASL until I entered college at NTID/RIT. I never felt there was a barrier to English and I call English my native language as it is my first language. I am currently an MBA graduate student at RIT.

    At ISD, the issue being addressed is literacy. ISD wanted to improve levels of literacy in their students using both ASL and English. ASL is a great language for language development, but it does not provide the tools for English literacy. That is where Cued Speech comes in.

    I have met other deaf people who always had an opinion on Cued Speech – regardless of how much they knew about it. But one observation that I made (which is also reflected by reading the comments above) is that those who feel strongly against Cued Speech are those who don’t really understand it well and/or feel threatened by it as an attack to the deaf community and its prized values.

    There are many comments in here that are not true. I am going to correct some of them:
    o “Cued Speech is stupid.” – I don’t know how to respond to this other than to bring up the fact that today many hearing people, who have never known a deaf person or taken a sign language class, will say that “deaf people are stupid and moving their hands around is stupid.” This is unfortunate and it is our responsibility to educate them that deaf people are just as intelligent as anyone else, regardless of the mode of communication that they use.
    o “ASL is very easy to understand and to use. Cued Speech doesn’t make sense.” – As a native cuer, learning ASL in college was very very difficult and took me about two years to become fluent. As any new language or system/tool, it doesn’t make sense first, until one day a light bulb goes off and you go “Egads, I’ve got it!”
    o “Cued speech forces deaf people to be like hearing people.” – If deaf people were truly being forced to be like hearing people, they would have their hands tied behind our back and be slapped with a ruler if they didn’t lipread and speak orally like the old days where oral communication was used in deaf schools. Cued speech is still 100% visual and does NOT depend on using speech and listening to sound. Remember, the goal is towards 100% literacy, not perfect speech.
    o “Can u change brialle out and have blinds use cue instead ?? Same idea Asl!!!” – In other words, this person is comparing Braille to sign language and the act of taking Braille away from a blind person is the same as taking sign language away from a deaf person. In the article, I did not get any sense that the students were being forced not to sign and that Kuhn and Smith-Warshaw were very respectful of both their students and their families’ wishes. So therefore, Cued Speech is not being “forced” on anyone.
    o “Asl taught them everything. Cued tought only english. What is point.” – If ASL teaches everything, then why is there a nationwide epidemic of low levels of literacy?
    o “I don’t see deaf people using cued speech” – This is easy to say because we are so few in numbers and so spread out. But we are out there! You probably know at least one person that knows (or remembers a little) cued speech and you won’t know it unless they bring it up themselves. I know people who have known me for years but never knew I grew up using cued speech because there was never a time where it was brought up.
    o “ASL should be stay at ISD and better for deaf culture.. We don’t need cued speech at all cuz we r 100% deaf and happy with ASL!!!!” – Again, I didn’t get the impression that ASL was being removed from ISD. Like Kuhn and Smith-Warshaw stated, ISD’s policy is “an accessible ASL/English bilingual community in which people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing learn and work together without language and communication barriers”. I also have to give a personal example of my experience. I grew up without knowing ASL and thought I was happy with Cued Speech until I was exposed to the Deaf community. I wanted to be able to communicate with them, so I learned ASL. I learned something new and it was hard, but I don’t regret it. If people are happy with the status quo – such as using only ASL (not English) – then there would be no progressive change in this world, such as abolishing slavery.
    o “After learning those cued speech, then go to NTID and failed! Why? No Cued at NTID! Blame ISD and flopped!” – As I stated, I receive cued speech at RIT. However, I can’t speak for other students. Also, NTID uses direct instruction using ASL, some sim-com and some all ASL. There are students who use ASL who can’t follow sim-com teachers and oral students who don’t know ASL in classes where ASL only is being used. I don’t know why the blame should be put on ISD for being a “failure”?
    o “I am the parent who against that because cued speech is tool for Deaf people who could speak well but missing the vowels. “ – Cued Speech is a tool to visually see English (or Spanish or French, depending on the country and family’s native language). I now define Cued Speech as “closed captions on the face” because I can visually see everything that an English speaker is saying without all the guesswork of lipreading. Cued Speech is NOT a tool for speaking.
    o “I am against CUED tool! why do we always allowed hearing teachers taking in a charge to change the communication system among the Deaf children? when Deaf teachers want to continue in using ASL as our first language and still we being barrier” – I believe at least one of the administration (Kuhn and Smith-Warshaw) is deaf.

    Now, for my opinion. I do understand people’s resistance to this because for one, it is much easier to use the younger you are. When a student enters high school and starts learning a foreign language like French, Spanish, Italian, or Latin, it’s very difficult to become fluent in as these students are past the age of fluent language acquisition, which is the age of 10. From my experience, I’ve tried to teach the concepts of Cued Speech to deaf students in college, and it was difficult for some of them to grasp. I do agree that learning another signed language, tool, or spoken language shouldn’t be forced on students who don’t want to use it to get their education. However, the article did not say it was being forced on the students.

  25. I agree with the last two comments too….I am deaf and an educator of the deaf in a deaf school. I use both SL and CS in my classroom for proficiency in both SL and Cued English . My young learners understand the difference between the two languages even though most are profoundly deaf and don’t speak. Many of the deaf in my school were initially resistant against the use of Cued English but as they came to see how it worked and how the children were benefiting in literacy skills, without hindering their communication skills in SL, they have since changed their negative attitude. I have deaf (Deaf) learners ask to learn and come voluntarily to after school lessons because they want to , not forced to…and want to become bilingual.

  26. I found the article very interesting and applaud the move to pilot the use of Cued Speech at this school. I am sure that ASL will remain the primary method of instruction for most, but I think it is important that people have options – especially options that have been shown to work elsewhere. For some, ASL may be the perfect answer for successful access to language and communication; for others, having visual access to spoken English is the best route. My daughter has moderate-to-severe hearing loss, uses hearing aids, and is mainstreamed in her local school where she has mostly hearing friends. She has been exposed to Cued Speech through school since age 2, and has many resources to support her in school, such that she does not struggle in her academics or socially. She is primarily auditory-oral in her day-to-day interactions, but relies on Cued Speech in certain situations – in loud environments, when her hearing aids are out, and when trying to make sense of a word that she may not be hearing properly. My husband and I both took Cued Speech classes, but are not fluent – at least, we cannot cue at the speed necessary for normal conversation. (However, we would practice more if she needed it more at home.) Cued Speech has been a great tool for us, though. It helped me “sound out” words as she was learning to read. There have been many times that she’s learned a word with the improper sound associated with it, and when I cue the appropriate sounds, she responds with a big “Oh! Now I get it!” One of my prime examples for Cued Speech was asking her to say the names of animals when she was 2 or 3. We got to “donkey.” She said (phonetically) “dah-gee.” I couldn’t tell if she couldn’t hear the distinction between donkey and doggie, or if she just couldn’t say it. So, I cued “donkey” and she was able to correctly articulate it. She started kindergarten reading at a first grade level, which I attribute to her amazing Cued Speech preschool program/teachers. Cued Speech is a wonderful resource that should be made available to those who choose to use it. So many of those who commented seem to fear change, but it is a diverse world and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Just as the Deaf demand respect for ASL as a beautiful language and representation of their culture, they, too, should respect the options that work for others and not immediately jump to judgment or name-calling. I hope to hear more about the outcomes of this pilot in the near future. Good luck!

  27. I would like to add comments to #30. Thank you.

    o “Asl taught them everything. Cued tought only english. What is point.” – If ASL teaches everything, then why is there a nationwide epidemic of low levels of literacy?

    I need to add this. I believe NOT all school for the Deaf or mainstream schools use ASL. They do not have ASL class. They would use English sign language, oral, unskilled sign language interpreter to interpret for Deaf in class. I think that is why there are low levels of literacy.

    Let face the real issue here: have you thought about most or almost all Deaf superintendents of school for the Deaf come from Deaf Family? Think about this. Have you thought about high percent of Deaf adults from Deaf family have better reading and writing level than those from hearing family? Why? Because they have language development early in their life.

    Like you said the goal is high level of literacy, I agree with you 100 percent. In order to get there, you would need to have language development early in child life that begins from born to age 5. NOT wait until Deaf child who turn 6 when he enters first-grade class. It is way too late for language development. What to do with child from born to age 5? Talk, talk, and talk as a way to have language development in their brain. ASL would be the best for them like we see in Deaf family. If you are not fluent in ASL, do something, write and read to them and learn ASL as much as possible.

    o “I am against CUED tool! why do we always allowed hearing teachers taking in a charge to change the communication system among the Deaf children? when Deaf teachers want to continue in using ASL as our first language and still we being barrier” – I believe at least one of the administration (Kuhn and Smith-Warshaw) is deaf.

    One of the administration (Kuhn and Smith-Warshaw) comes from Deaf family. If it were not for Deaf family, I believe one of them would not be in the administration she is today.

    Like I said, I am not against or support Cued speech. I have seen Deaf adults from all walks of life. I know one Deaf adult who never use sign language have very successful life with high reading and writing level while Deaf adult who also never use sign language have very low reading and writing level. So it is more like what works for one Deaf does not necessary mean work for other.

    I think it is important that if they try cued speech in school, they continue to use ASL for other thing in Math, History, Arts classes so if CS does not work, they continue to have language development early in life as we do not want to leave Deaf child behind!

    Thank you.

  28. #33 – Mike

    We agree 100% that the critical development factor is opening the lines of communication between a parent and child as fast as possible. That’s why Cued Speech was designed to be learned in two weeks or less. Within two weeks of learning their child is deaf, a parent can begin communicating in their entire native language.

    That was what happened with my parents, they tried to learn ASL but within 6 months, they only had 200 signs and I only knew what they knew. After learning Cued Speech, they could say ANYTHING they wanted without referring to a dictionary and this was in the home, well before I went to school.

  29. The whole point of why people who are inside of ISD that are upset about it, is how it is being used. Kids are being punished K-8 if refuse to use cue or respond back in cue in certain classrooms. Kids have complained to us about it. Yes, we are open to a new tool, again-supposedly to be just a tool, that could help our deaf children’s literacy. However, it is not used properly or with respect from what I saw. Cued speech was used as a communication language all throughout the day, confusing some of the other children who already learned asl first with a deaf family. This bring unhappiness and frustrations in them. I think that is where the line is cross. To use the tool, these staff need proper training on how to use it as a tool toward literacy not as a communication. Also, to have respect for others who do not want to use. The high school demonstrate perfectly how to do this properly using all tools they can plus asl. Perhaps K-8 can try to compromise and keep it simple?

  30. We re totally disagree d this cued speech at ISD because this asl are the most beautiful and expressions! Cued Speech is only one hand without expressions that looks alike so snobby looking or bored looking! I agreed few comments that we all stay with ASLs are the first beautiful history than this! CUED SPEECH INSTRUCTIONS AND OTHERS … STAY OUT OF IT!
    I’m sorry we don’t supported this Cued Speech belongs this ILSD period!

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  32. I want to say , That is discrimination against deaf ‘s life ! I hope you will fail your students education this year !


  34. Best to have all deaf baby learn Baby signs by their Parents (Hearing or Deaf). It will help them to be able to read and write later.
    Also their parents should read any books to their deaf child so their communication skills will be better.
    If parents do not make an effort to communicate with their deaf child then the child will have a hard time to learn.
    If parents make an effort to communicate to their deaf chid then they will learn a lot.
    What kind of communication? Sign language with other tools… Never replace ASL.

  35. After reading all these comments about how beneficial cued speech is i agree. It is beneficial when used as a tool as it was first intended BUT let’s clarify that ISD is NOT using it as a tool. They are using it all day long as a language. I’ve witnessed it first hand. They aren’t using it properly, turning a potentially good tool into a disaster. Besides the fact that they are ignoring IEP’s set for the children and going behind parents back.

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  37. First of all, I just want to say that I’m not against the “cued Speech Pilot program” as a TOOL! however, this article really bothered me. It says that while they were doing the first cued speech pilot program, 3 students tremendously succeeded in improving their language. Question: why only 3 kids and how did they chose those 3 kids? Were those 3 kids chosen randomly? Or we’re they specifically chosen to ensure that the program would succeed? Another question: why did they chose to add the cued speech program to all other classes BASED ON ONLY 3 KIDS?? That’s not enough data to confirm that the program is successful. I just feel that there’s something fishy going on. It does need more research and more data!!

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  40. As a hearing parent of a profoundly deaf son who was raised with CS I can unequivocally say that this communication tool made our family life
    rich and rewarding. It enabled great communication with our son, and gave him the opportunity to become a well adjusted and happy young man who has the best of both worlds. Works successfully in a hearing world and has many deaf friends who sign. Cued Speech is the road less travelled but turned out to be the best for us.

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