Information about Cued Speech
What looks the same on the mouth must look different on the hand, therefore the hand shapes and hand placements help distinguish between similar-looking speech sounds, or phonemes. For each phoneme, a handshape and hand placement are combined with the mouth shape to visually show the building blocks of spoken language.
An individual can speak and cue at the same time, reinforcing auditory and speech development, while allowing parents and professionals to support language immersion in their native languages.
Because Cued Speech is based on the lingusitic properties of spoken language, most individuals are able to learn the system in a few days or less and become expressively fluent at the sentence level within months.
While Director of the Division of Higher Education at the U.S. Office of Education in 1959, Dr. R. Orin Cornett discovered that the typical reading skills of deaf adults were significantly behind their hearing peers. Motivated by this revelation, Dr. Cornett took a position as Vice President of Long-Range Planning at Gallaudet College (now University) with the goal of researching the challenges deaf and hard of hearing children faced in developing literacy skills.
During the years 1965 to 1966 Dr. Cornett spent time figuring out how to visualize spoken language and eventually came up with a system of showing spoken language using hand shapes and hand placements. He would call it Cued Speech. Leah Lewis became the first child to acquire language through Cued Speech after her family learned to cue and became accessible language models in the home.
Eventually after more parents started learning to cue, a Cued Speech preschool class was established at Gallaudet University in 1972. Seven years later, an additional track for Cued Speech was added to the deaf and hard of hearing programs in the largest public school districts in Virginia and Maryland – Fairfax County Public Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools, respectively.
Over the next several decades, multiple cue camps would be established to support families and professionals in learning and practicing Cued Speech. The National Cued Speech Association would formally organize conferences and workshops while the TECUnit would maintain national certification for cued language transliterators in the United States.
A significant milestone took place in 2004 when “cued language services” was added to the federal legislation, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The American with Disabilities Act and Section 504 would follow suit with legislative updates to include Cued Speech as a mode of communication for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
In the past fifty years, Cued Speech has established a presence on six continents and has been adapted to over 60 languages and dialects with active use growing across the globe.
Today, Cue College represents the next step in promoting Cued Speech for language and literacy development, speech and auditory skill development, and communication access.
Resources for Practicing and Improving your Cueing
Becoming fluent in Cued American English as well as any other cued language involves a lot of daily practice and attention to accuracy and speed.
Explore the resources we have available for improving your cueing fluency.
Currently Cued Speech has been adapted to over 65 languages and dialects, some of which are available in pdf form below. Contact us for any other languages you may not see on this list.
“50 Years of Cued Speech – A Video Retrospective” features footage and interviews from the past 50 years since Cued Speech was invented in 1966 by Dr. Cornett at Gallaudet College (now University). This video was produced by Cue Cognatio on behalf of the National Cued Speech Association.
Considered the world’s first “cuesic” video, “Go” features Twista, a rapper who set the record for world’s fastest rapper in 1992 with 11.2 syllables per second. This video features cuers who cue the song.
This educational video produced by the National Cued Speech Association provides an overview of Cued Speech and includes interviews and footage with different families.
This educational video produced by the National Cued Speech Association describes the process of learning to cue.
This educational video produced by the National Cued Speech Association provides a professional perspective of Cued Speech as it applies to language and literacy development.
Thanks to generous donors, the National Cued Speech Association has created a number of iBooks featuring cued stories including classics such as “The Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs.”
The NCSA mission is to champion language, communication and literacy for children who are deaf and hard of hearing through the use of Cued Speech. The iBook Project was supported by our donors to increase literacy and make classic children’s books accessible to children who are deaf and hard of hearing. These classic books are presented with beautiful illustrations, in text, and with cued videos of the actual text. Cued Speech users will be able to have the book ‘read’ to them by fluent cuers. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did producing it!
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents an adaptation of the classic children’s story, Rumplestiltskin.
|My Brother is Special
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents Peggy A. McGlone’s second original story, My Brother is Special, illustrated by Donna Powers. The story is about a deaf boy with his brother at a baseball game.
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents an adaptation of the classic children’s story, Snow White.
|Three Little Pigs
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents its first iBook, the Three Little Pigs.
|Little Red Riding Hood
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents an adaptation of the classic children’s story, Little Red Riding Hood.
|I Have a Special Grandma
The story by Peggy McGlone is about a deaf child who visits her grandmother and helps her practice Cued Speech. During this visit, her window into the world of language and communication opens.
|Alice in Wonderland
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents an adaptation of the classic children’s story, Alice in Wonderland.
|Hansel and Gretel
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) presents an adaptation of the classic children’s story, Hansel and Gretel.