Autumn 2015



Issue 65

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Cued Speech –

research and evidence 40 years on 


Published in the September edition of the magazine of the British Association of Teacher of the Deaf (BAToD), Anne Worsfold, Executive Director of the Cued Speech Association UK, reports on how Cued Speech has developed over four decades to help children with hearing loss understand spoken language more easily.  

"In 2016 Cued Speech (CS) celebrates its 40 year anniversary with a conference in America which will be attended by academics and researchers from around the world.  In the past 39 years a wide range of evidence has grown which demonstrates its effectiveness and yet there’s still confusion in the minds of many people in the UK as to what exactly CS is.  The name ‘Cued Speech’ probably doesn’t help matters. Many people believe that the French name Langage Parlé Complété (LPC) or ‘completed spoken language’ paints a clearer picture and has helped to bring about the situation where every deaf child is offered the option of visual access to French through LPC. 
CS is a visual version of the spoken language in which it is used.  Why then, the name Cued Speech?  For hearing children the speech of parents / carers is both how they develop language and the first expression of language, then, when children start school, they have the language they need to learn to read, and then they learn yet more language through reading.  For deaf children, CS does the job of speech; it is your speech made visible.  When you use the 8 handshapes and 4 positons which are the ‘cues’ of CS, you turn the 44 phonemes of your speech into visible units which can, like sounds, be combined into words, sentences and, as a result, full language.  Just as hearing children learn a full language thorough listening to speech, so deaf children can learn a full language through watching speech which is ‘cued’.
International research
There is now a wide range of international research on CS.  The essential findings (with space constraints forcing me to reference just a few of the scores of relevant papers) are:    

  • Understanding English – Without CS, about 35% of what is said can be lip-read; with CS this rises to 96%1 making it easy for deaf children to learn and understand English.  New research tells us that CS is not lip-reading with an additional cue; the cue is received first, disambiguating the following lip-pattern.2
  • Access to early language – Babies and children can absorb their family’s spoken language without delay3, just as hearing children do.  Cued Speech is ‘just’ the English language so once the system has been learnt parents and teachers can make the whole of the English language fully visible.  Learning CS is rather like learning to type if you can already write and can be learned by a hearing parent or teacher in approximately 20 hours.
  • Second generation cuers - (deaf children of deaf parents brought up with CS) are reaching the same linguistic milestones in English as hearing children of hearing parents.4
  • Belonging and self-esteem – an American study of 32 adults who grew up with Cued Speech found ‘high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence, which they credit to their parents’ choice of Cued Speech, their early childhood experiences of feeling included in family activities and conversations and in peer groups, and positive feelings of competence and success in school’.5
  • Literacy - International research demonstrates that deaf children brought up with CS achieve reading scores equivalent to hearing children6 & 7and that cueing deaf children acquire phonological abilities better than non-cuing deaf children and comparable to hearing peers8. A recent English case-study looking at the perception of phonemes in regular non-words found 50% accuracy in spelling non-words (e.g. ‘drump’) when listening and lip-reading, and 100% accuracy once CS was added.9
  • Speech production – speech intelligibility was better in CS-using implanted children than non-CS-using.10
  • Cued Speech is inclusive - it helps deaf children get the best from their hearing aids and cochlear implants11.  On the other hand, whilst CS was intended by its inventor to be accompanied by an audible spoken message, CS gives full access in the absence of any hearing12 and works well when used bilingually with a signed language. 
Additional points:
  • CS is used by professionals around the world to give deaf children full access at school, college and university; France and the USA lead the way in qualifications (degree-level in France) for Cued Speech Transliterators. 
  • Most deaf children who learn language through CS communicate with speech (although their diction may be poor, especially in the early years) but a very small minority communicate with CS or, when brought up bilingually, with BSL.  All deaf children who learn English through CS, regardless of how they communicate, are able to reap the benefits that full understanding of English will bring.
  • CS has been adapted into 63 different languages and dialects, so can be used in the home by families for whom English is a second language and to give access to modern foreign languages. 
For busy Teachers of the Deaf who are looking for more general evidence about CS use, I would recommend four additional sources of information:
  1.  For a quick summary, go to the Cued Speech Association UK website ‘research’ section or for personal accounts of CS use look at our ‘cuetube’ section.
  2. For a comprehensive overview obtain the book ‘Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’ (2010).  This edited volume has 42 international contributors, including 25 professors or assistant or associate professors and draws on the years of international research to demonstrate the effectiveness of CS and shows that the uses of CS and understanding of it has evolved over time.  The six sections look at the background and linguistics of cueing; describe the effectiveness of the system for: (a) phonological perception, (b) natural language acquisition, (c) the development of reading, and (d) atypical populations, and finally report on technological initiatives. 
For practitioners with limited time I especially recommend the chapter(s) on:
  • Literacy (chapters 11- 14)
  • early language development of deaf twins of deaf parents who are native cuers of English (chapter 8)
  • the Minnesota bilingual programme (chapter 10) which reports 95% of pupils making one year’s progress in English in one year of time
  • Auditory Neuropathy / Auditory Dys-synchrony (chapter 15) by American AN / AD specialist Dr Charles Berlin, Research Professor, University of South Florida. 
  1. New this year is an invited paper in the American Annals of the Deaf (Volume 159, Number 5, Winter 2015 pp. 447-467):  Reading for Deaf and Hearing Readers: Qualitatively and/or Quantitatively Similar or Different? A Nature versus Nurture Issue by Carol J. LasassoKelly L. Crain.  The authors quote from a wide range of research to back up their assertion that: ‘In our view, the child’s hearing status (deaf, hearing) is less important in learning to read than are environmental factors, including: 1) the richness of the child’s early linguistic environment leading to an age-appropriate L1 prior to formal reading instruction, and 2) clear, complete visual access to the instructional language (e.g., English, Spanish, ASL) used to deliver the school curriculum via conventional or English Language Learner (ELL) methods.’  ‘Of the available communication systems to convey English conversationally (oral-aural methods, MCE sign systems, Cued Speech), only Cued Speech is structurally capable of affording clear, complete visual access to English.’
  2. Also new in 2015 is a revised edition of the Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies in Language, edited by M. Marschark & P. Spencer (Oxford University Press), with an additional chapter by Jacqueline Leybaert, Clémence Bayard, Cécile Colin (ULB) and Carol LaSasso (Gallaudet University) on:  ‘Cued Speech and Cochlear Implants - a powerful combination for natural spoken language acquisition and the development of reading.’  The authors say that in the chapter: ‘We review the available literature showing that CS enhances speech perception in CI children, and it also favors the appropriate development of the three R’s (reading, rhyming, and remembering).’

Nationally there is increased focus on deaf children’s outcomes and, as the research demonstrates, CS will deliver access to English and greatly improved literacy.  Also the new SEN Code of Practice (‘From birth to two – early identification’ para 5.16) says that parents of some SEN children, including deaf children, must receive support, which may include ‘training for parents in using early learning programmes to promote play, communication and language development’.  CS is a very effective and cost effective way of providing that support.  See our charity’s Local Offer page on our website for an overview of how we can help parents and teachers, or give us a call to chat about options, or the practical use of CS. "
Research references

1.) Ling, D, & Nicholls, G, Cued Speech and the Reception of Spoken Language Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 25, 262-269 (1982)   2.) Troille, E., Cathiard, M., & Abry, C. (2007). A perceptual desynchronization study of manual and facial information in French Cued Speech. ICPhS, Saarbrücken, Germany, 291-296.   3.) Torres, S., Moreno-Torres, I., & Santana, R. (2006). Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of linguistic input support to a prelingually deaf child with Cued Speech, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 11, 438-448.   4.) Crain (2010) ‘Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children,’ Carol J. LaSasso, Kelly Lamar Crain, Jacqueline Leybaert pages 151 – 182   5.) ‘Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’ Carol J. LaSasso, Kelly Lamar Crain, Jacqueline Leybaert pages 183-212.   6.) Use of Internal Speech in Reading by Hearing and Hearing Impaired Students in Oral, Total Communication, and Cued Speech Programs.  Wandel, Jean E., 1989. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York.   7.) Colin, S., Leybaert, J., Ecalle, J., & Magnan, A. (2013).  The development of word recognition, sentence comprehension, word spelling and vocabulary in children with deafness: A longitudinal study. Journal of Research in Disabilities, 34, 1781-1793.   8.) Visual Speech in the Head: The Effect of Cued Speech on Rhyming, Remembering, and Spelling. Leybaert, J. & Charlier, B., 1996, Journal of Deaf Studies & Deaf Education, Vol. 1,pp. 234-248.  Plus others, including: Alegria et al., 1990a, 1990b, 1997 and 1999; Charlier & Leybaert, 2000; Colin et al., 2007, 2013; Crain, 2003; LaSasso et al., 2003; Leybaert, 1998. Full references can be found in the paper in the American Annals of the Deaf (referred to above).  9.) Rees, R., & Bladel, J. (2013). Effects of English Cued Speech on speech perception, phonological awareness and literacy: A case study of a 9-year-old deaf boy using a cochlear implant. Deafness & Education International, 15, 182-200.   10.) Vieu, A. Mondaina, M., Blanchard, K., Sillon, M., Reuillard-Artieres, F., Tobey, Piron, J. (1998).  Influence of communication mode on speech intelligibility and syntactic structure of sentences in profoundly hearing impaired French children implanted between 5 and 9 years of age. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 44, 15-22.   11.) Cued Speech in the Stimulation of Communication: An Advantage in Cochlear Implantation.’ Descourtieux, C., V. Groh, A. Rusterholtz, I. Simoulin, D. Busquet, The International Journal of Paediatric Otohinolaryngology, 1999.  12.) Fleetwood and Metzger 2010 Cued Speech and Cued Language for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children,’ Carol J. LaSasso, Kelly Lamar Crain, Jacqueline Leybaert pages 53 – 66. 


Involving children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and their families: a survey to explore parents’ views. 

Can you help with some research, and influence guidance for professionals?  

Our Association is a member of the Communication Trust, who are working with the University of the West of England to look at how all children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, including deafness, are supported.   
Professor Sue Roulstone writes:

‘Parents of children and young people who have speech, language and communication needs are invited to take part in the online survey which can be accessed at: 

The Communication Trust is working with Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit and the University of the West of England to explore the experiences of children and young people with SLCN and their parents regarding their involvement in decisions about their individual needs and in service development, especially within the context of the reformed SEND system.  Thank you very much for your support.’

Professor Sue Roulstone, is leading this work with her research team. The survey is being conducted as part of the study. The Communication Trust will also be developing guidance for professionals on supporting the involvement of children and young people. 


English Cued Speech Tutors deliver training in Switzerland

The language outcomes of French-speaking deaf children supported by the French version of Cued Speech (LPC) are so good that they are expected, with Cued Speech help, to also master a second language.  However, there are a few differences in the sounds used in French and English, so there are also slight differences in the two versions of Cued Speech.  If the professionals who support deaf pupils use only the French version to deliver English then the French deaf child can only learn English with a strong French accent!  Increasingly professionals from continental Europe want to deliver ‘correct’ English and to do that they need to learn the English version of Cued Speech – and practice delivering it at the speed of normal speech! 

In July of this year a very special six-day training in Cued Speech was held in the picturesque town of Delemont in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Two tutors from England, Cate Calder and Emma Sadhegi travelled out with their families in tow to teach the beginners and intermediate level courses in Cued Speech.

Cate Calder writes: 

"The attendees were all fluent cuers in LPC (the French version of Cued Speech) and most of them were already fully qualified Transliterators (similar to BSL interpreters but with Cued Speech rather than sign language). Our fellow cuers in France benefit from at least 2 universities running full-time Transliterator training where people learn to cue and transliterate professionally in up to three languages - primarily French with the addition of English and Spanish.  Deaf children there are fully expected to learn a second language at school and with cueing support they are able to do so alongside their hearing peers.

The course attendees were working as Transliterators throughout France and Switzerland in a wide range of settings from nurseries through to universities and occasionally with adults in the workplace (although this is less common as regular cue-users learn to lip-read with such a high level of accuracy that they rarely require support as adults.)  There were at least three Teachers of the Deaf and one Speech and Language Therapist who were also qualified Transliterators.

The whole week was expertly organised and run by transliterators Annika Dind and Martine Kaba-Lopez, both familiar faces at the UK cueing camps. The timetable offered daily lessons in spoken and written English; tuning in to English phonology; beginners level Cued Speech and the intermediate Cued Speech course leading to the level one exam. By the end of the second day the beginner’s course students were making seriously impressive progress - already tackling The Gruffalo in Cued Speech and learning to cue several English songs. The intermediate students had covered most of the level one curriculum and were then able to spend the rest of the week mainly working on transliterating skills in English. By the end of the week all but two of the students on the intermediate course took and passed the level one exam (the two had previously taken and passed the exam remotely using an invigilator).  It was very impressive to see how efficiently the professionals could adapt their cueing skills to a second language.  Congratulations to them all.

At the end of the week everybody’s skills were showcased at a whole evening of entertainment at the traditional Cued Speech Cabaret, students and tutors performed cued sketches and songs. We welcome the news that plans are underway to make the Swiss Cued Speech week a regular bi-annual event for professionals.

The Cued Speech Association website has films demonstrating the phonemes of English and French and a simple word bank both in Cued Speech (English) and LPC (Cued French) should you wish to see the two systems in action.
It is a shame that the situation for deaf children in the UK means that it is unlikely they will be expected to learn a modern foreign language or be given cueing support to ensure that they can fully learn their home language, or access a second one, in the way their French and Swiss counterparts are."


Cued Speech Training Weekend 2015

Taking Place at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

October 31st - November 1st

The Cued Speech Association UK are holding a Cued Speech training weekend designed for beginners, at the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education. The course will run on Saturday 31st October - 10am-4pm, and Sunday 1st November - 10am-4pm.

Held in the historic city of Exeter, on the banks of the River Exe, this venue is easy to get to, with two major train stations and a bus depot all within easy reach of the venue. If the attendees need accommodation a wealth of choices can be found within a small radius of the Deaf Academy, at prices to suit every eventuality.

Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the course, but lunches will need to be brought with you.

The course will be led by by Cued Speech Tutor, Cate Calder, and she will teach the basics of Cued Speech, as well as answer any questions you might have about it's translation into the life of the deaf child(ren) you work or live with.  She has been working in deaf education for nearly 20 years, and is pivotal in providing the much-needed training we offer to all families and professional who have contact with deaf children and babies.
The details of the event are as follows:              

Address:  Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education
                   50 Topsham Road
                    EX2 4NF

Cost:  £150.00

Payment to be received 28th October
Payment can be made in a number of ways, simply follow this link to our payment page, using the reference 'Pro Weekend 15' when making your payment online.

Not only will this weekend provide information and training in Cued Speech, but Exeter is a wonderful, picturesque venue, with vibrant sights to see and a range of facilities that can be enjoyed outside the hours of the training.

For any queries about, or to book your place on the training weekend, please contact us by email, or reach out to us by telephone on (01803) 832784.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Now seeking a new Trustee!

The Cued Speech Association UK are seeking a new Trustee with financial experience for our Management Committee. 

We are looking for a candidate who can bring financial and accountancy skills and appropriate qualifications in a financial role would be beneficial.  Do you know of anyone who can help us?

We hope to hear you from you soon, and look forward to welcoming a new member to our diverse and experienced committee.


Thank you for reading our newsletter.

If you wish to know more about Cued Speech, or wish to receive training, please contact our office with any inquiries.  

Our office is open Monday - Thursday, 9am-5pm weekly, and we are happy to help.


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