There are many misconceptions regarding Cued Speech among those not familiar with the visual communcation system.
Click on each of the statements below to discover if it is a Fact or Myth.
Cued Speech is replacing ASL at ISD.
Myth! Cued Speech is not replacing ASL at ISD. Cued Speech is being used in conjunction with ASL to provide our students with full visual access to both ASL and English. ASL is still a strong, integral part of our bilingual program. In an effort to meet the linguistic and educational needs of our diverse student population, Cued Speech has also been added to further enhance the education of our students by giving them visual access to English in its primary (spoken) form.
Cued Speech is not a language and does not align with ISD's bilingual philosophy.
Myth! Cued Speech is a visual and complete representation of the English language. Part of ISD’s vision/mission statement reads: "Providing an accessible ASL/English bilingual communication environment, respecting all forms of communication for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Individuals." Using Cued Speech to represent English visually, through the air, supports our bilingual philosophy and does not work against our use of ASL. Students at ISD are being afforded the opportunity to learn English in its primary form (spoken) before being asked to learn and master English in its secondary form (print). Cued Speech is sometimes referred to as "captions for your mouth!"
Cued Speech doesn't work with profoundly deaf students or students from deaf families.
Myth! The severity of hearing loss is not relevant when using Cued Speech with deaf students. For those students who rely solely on visual input for acquiring language, Cued Speech is essential to their ability to understand expressive English in its primary form. For those students who rely more heavily on auditory information, Cued Speech provides them with additional visual information to ensure that they understand the sounds they cannot hear without relying on lipreading alone. Cued Speech also allows teachers to bridge the gap between the profoundly deaf and hard of hearing students in each classroom. Unlike ASL, Cued Speech can be used either with or without voice support. Therefore, a student who requires auditory information for his/her learning needs will be provided with voice support, while not detracting from the language input provided to the profoundly deaf student who does not benefit from spoken English. The use of sign supported speech could also help to overcome the differences with regard to hearing loss in each classroom, but this would not support the separation of languages (ASL/English), causing all students to receive an imperfect model for language input.
The use of Cued Speech early does not develop language in children.
Myth! Like ASL, consistent use of Cued Speech with infants and toddlers will develop their language. Cued Speech develops the expressive and receptive use of English for young children without depending on English print. The critical period for language development, regardless of the language being targeted, for all children is between the ages of 0-7. Therefore, as is true with ASL, late exposure to Cued Speech will result in less successful outcomes. Students often arrive to ISD with delays in both languages. Regardless, continued use of both languages continues to be crucial for their chance at improvement in all academic and functional areas.
All students are instructed using Cued Speech at ISD.
Myth! Not all students at ISD are being instructed using Cued Speech. Some of our students are meeting or exceeding grade level expectations in the core subject areas of reading, language, and math. They have already demonstrated a well-established use of English. Additional support through Cued Speech may not be necessary for those students. In addition, some of the students at ISD present with significant secondary disabling conditions (such as intellectual disabilities) that further impact their ability to learn and be successful in the educational environment. These students use a modified curriculum for their instruction, and development of fluent English through either Cued Speech or print is not necessarily an appropriate educational goal for some of them.
The use of Cued Speech and ASL confuses students.
Myth! Deaf students have been expected to understand the differences between ASL and English print for many years. Students must learn that when they express themselves in English print, they must also use the correct grammar for the English language. For example, students cannot write, "I go store," which is how they would make that statement in ASL. Cued Speech allows students to have an opportunity to naturally acquire English grammar prior to having to write it. The use of Cued Speech has not hindered our students’ ability to understand the differences between the two languages when both are presented visually. In addition, we have documented improvement in our students’ expressive written English after being exposed to Cued Speech during the school day. ASL and Cued Speech (visual English) can be acquired simultaneously.
Cued Speech is used to teach deaf students to speak.
Myth! While the use of Cued Speech can assist with helping some of our students learn to articulate better, our goal of incorporating Cued Speech into our bilingual program is not to improve our students' speech. Our primary motivation is improving literacy. In order to successfully use Cued Speech, one must make the mouth movement that is associated with each sound of the English language. However, voice support is not mandatory. Students are able to expressively cue without speaking. In addition, many of our students receive Cued Speech from their teachers, but respond using a variety of communication modes. Students may express themselves using spoken English, sign supported speech, Cued Speech, and/or ASL. Depending on the academic task at hand, there is usually no requirement put forth on how our students choose to communicate.
Students are bored and disengaged when Cued Speech is used in the classroom.
Myth! Students are actively engaged in the learning process when the lessons are appropriately planned by classroom teachers. Presentation of information through either ASL or Cued Speech does not impact student participation in classroom activities and lessons. However, we do recognize that teacher fluency in either ASL or Cued Speech can have a dramatic impact on the education provided to our students. ISD continues to provide additional training in both ASL and Cued Speech to improve each person’s capacity to use the two systems for effective visual communication.
Students are punished for refusing to use Cued Speech.
Myth! We encourage students to maintain an open mind about the possible benefits of Cued Speech use toward their academic goals, and students are never punished for simply refusing to use it. In addition, students are expected to be respectful toward others who use Cued Speech at ISD. Demonstrating intentional disrespectful behavior toward others who use Cued Speech may result in disciplinary action, depending on the severity of the infraction.
Cued Speech is used inappropriately at other times during the school day that do not include reading and language instruction (i.e. math, science, social studies, lunch time, hallways)
Myth! Whenever English is being emphasized, it is appropriate to use Cued Speech to provide that English input. For example, in the math classroom, students might be learning about a number "cubed." While they can understand this concept through ASL, a teacher would want to emphasize the English word "cubed" so that students recognize the word in print, during a written assessment, for example. Thousands of vocabulary words are introduced in science and social studies that do not have a formal sign and, therefore, must be fingerspelled when being taught through ASL. Examples include: photosynthesis, Mesopotamia, Babylonians, names of planets, names of countries, names of geographic landmarks, names of Indian tribes, etc. While fingerspelling and reading these words in print is one strategy for teaching unknown vocabulary to deaf students, it is still a secondary form of English. Providing that information through Cued Speech allows students to learn the word in its primary form before being asked to learn or use it in its secondary form. The goal is to promote long-term retention in addition to providing students with a strategy to attack an unfamiliar word if they cannot recall it through print alone. Finally, there are other opportunities for learning English throughout the school day, outside of the classroom environment. At meal times, students are provided a wide selection of foods. Again, some of those foods do not have formal signs and must be fingerspelled. Providing the cues for a vegetable like Brussels sprouts, in addition to fingerspelling it for a student, increases the English information provided about the word, which further enables the probability of long term retention.
Cued Speech is a "program" or a separate "class"
Myth! Cued Speech is not established as a separate program or class. Cued Speech is used in conjunction with our prescribed curricula. Much of what is expected of students in American education systems is mastery of English. Therefore, Cued Speech is used to improve our students’ understanding and use of that language in relation to all subjects. When faced with formal assessments, such as college entrance exams, certification tests, or licensure tests, English will be the language used to assess individuals taking those exams and determine if they pass or fail. We want our students to achieve all of their post-secondary goals, which will require that they have a strong ability to use English accurately and effectively.
Cued Speech is being used to avoid hiring more deaf teachers.
Myth! There is absolutely no hidden agenda at ISD to avoid hiring Deaf teachers for our students. We would welcome any qualified Deaf applicants to join our ISD family! Some of our current Deaf educators and staff are learning and using Cued Speech. There is no requirement to use one’s voice when cueing. With a basic understanding of phonics and after learning the system, anyone can use Cued Speech. Naturally, each person will become proficient at varying rates but, as is true with all new things, practice and consistent use and exposure are the keys to success!