How does Cued Speech work?
Cued Speech uses
eight hand shapes in four positions near the mouth to clarify the lip patterns
of normal speech. With the structure of spoken language made
visible, deaf children can quickly aquire an understanding of spoken
language. Simply put with Cued Speech, deaf people can
see all sound based units of speech (44 phonemes) as clearly as
hearing people can hear them.
The late Dr Cornett, who devised Cued Speech in 1966 brief was
- Cued Speech must be oral so that the deaf watch the lips
and become able to lipread people who do not cue.
- Cued Speech must show every sound, meaning and rhythm of
every word clearly in the time it is spoken in face-to-face communication.
- CS must show all the details of each word as it is spoken so that the deaf
child can learn the words as they watch people speaking and
cueing to them and as they cue the words to themselves.
- Very young deaf children should be able to learn Cued Speech by
watching others cue, and not need to be taught how to cue.
- Parents should be able to learn to cue without too much
He also wanted Cued Speech to incorporate the following:
- Lipreading : Watching the lips and muscular
movements of the face means it is essential for the cuer to speak/mouth
clearly but naturally - the cuer can use voice or mouth silently.
- Watching the cues of Cued speech: Necessary to
achieve a high understanding and accuracy in lipreading (90 - 100%)
- Use of residual hearing: Whatever residual hearing the
deaf child may have is to be encouraged.
- Voicing and projecting speech: If speech is
desired, the child will need speech therapy. Cued Speech used in speech
theraphy sessions will enable the child to understand target sounds to be
uttered, and help with production of sequencing of sounds as he cues to
- Expressive Language: The child is encouraged to use
cues to express himself.
- Body Language: Natural use of body language and
gestures to be used to be used freely.
What are some of the benefits of Cued Speech?
- Most deaf children are born into hearing families. For parents to
communicate in their home language will assist with language development from
a critical early age.
- Cued Speech is a closed system and can be learnt in 10 - 20 hours of
- As it is sound based, it helps with reading and spelling skills.
- South Africa is moving towards Inclusive Education, both teachers and
learners will be able to communicate and interact effectively with deaf
learners fairly quickly after learning the system.
- It is possible for the deaf child to learn other languages.