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Old 01-23-2013, 09:46 PM   #21
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Re: How to Help Family with Deaf Infant

Alrighty!!! Finally had time to sit down on my computer and write out what I was planning to say!

Cued Speech- (you can find information here) is a visual mode of communication that uses handshapes and placements in combination with the mouth movements of speech to make the phonemes of a spoken language look different from each other. In simple terms, it's based on phonetics. I want to make this clear:

This is NOT oral. I'm actually against oralism myself because it doesn't provide the child 100% of the information and the child tend to miss out a lot which doesn't really help them or support them.

This was invented to just improve a child's literacy. It has nothing to do with speaking/speech, but it does help with learning it. Did you know that the average deaf child reads at the 4th grade level? This was to help them to be able to be literate.

I'm not against ASL at all. I grew up with total communication which is sign language and speech combined. However, one thing I do want to emphasize is that ASL is a different language with its own syntax and concepts. The deaf child would have to learn both English and ASL. It's difficult. Even to this day, I have problems understanding ASL because I usually use fluent English in my daily life.

Cued Speech is, I like to call it, a happy medium in both ASL and Oral. It's visual. It will provide the deaf child the phonemes/phonetics for learning the English language. Plus it's easy to learn!

There are 8 handshapes and 5 mouth placements. Each handshape represent the consonants and each mouth placement represent the vowels. It's like a puzzle. You put the consonant and the vowel together, and you have a word!
It takes about a weekend to learn the system and you can cue anything! It is benefical for the child to have some auditory (Cochlear implants, hearing aids) feedback, yes, but with Cued Speech, you would not need the auditory because it's actually visual. But having auditory feedback is an advantage (I have bilateral cochlear implants, and I got them at adult age)

I, as a deaf person, learned how to cue 3 years ago, because I wanted the literacy support and focusing on the English language alone. I improved with it tremendously.

With Cued Speech, you would be able to cue different languages! The child would be able to learn it easier because it's based on phonetics and learn it the spoken and written way! I'm taking Spanish and intend to become fluent in the language.

ASL actually takes about 7 years to learn and to become somewhat fluent in. If I was a hearing parent who knew no sign at all, this would be cumbersome for me because I would want to be able to communicate in full language with my child. Basically, the child and the adult are learning it at the same time. I don't really support the concept because the child is at the critical age where he needs to have exposure to language.

Using ASL now for him is fine, no problem, but later on, you would want the child to learn and absorb language because it's a critical age. If you don't really have ASL support, it's going to be hard.

There's a facebook page about Cued Speech ( stop by and ask questions!

Short story: One family had both parents who are deaf and cuers. They have 3 children, identical twin girls age 8 and a son age 5. All are genetically deaf. The parents cued to the children from birth to now. The girls started reading chapter books at the age of 5 1/2 and the son is starting to read them himself! They are amazing children.

You could raise the child bilingual: ASL/English. Most cuers I know are pretty fluent in ASL after they learned it later in middle school years. They had the English foundation and then learnt ASL later on as a second language.

That's the information My advice is: Think about the best interests of the child and stick with it And start now.. the child is at a critical time of learning language.

Tiffany, Mama to my lil ladybug, Kianna, 11/10/13!
Babywearing fanatic, cloth diapering guru, CPST, cosleeping gal, full term nursing supporter!
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