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Cued Speech: Learning to Use Handshapes that Stand for Sound

Read this page to learn what cued speech is, and if it's right for your child.

What cued speech is

  • Cued speech is a way for deaf people to "see" spoken English. It was invented to teach deaf children how to read.
    It helps children "see" the sounds.
  • The cued speech method can help children do this:
    • Communicate with other people who use handshapes that stand for all the different sounds in English.
    • Possibly improve their speech.
    • Learn written English.
    • Learn other languages, like Spanish or Chinese.
  • Cued speech is not sign language or American Sign language.
    • Cued speech uses handshapes that stand for different sounds.
    • Sign language uses handshapes, facial expressions, and body posture to express different concepts.
  • Cued speech can be used with 2 other methods of communication.

How learning the cued speech method affects children's lives

  • Most children who cue go to public school.
  • A person called a cued speech transliterator helps them understand what the teacher says.
    • The cued speech transliterator repeats the teacher's words without sound.
    • She uses cues to make her words clearer.
    • She can also "speak" for your child when your child cues back.

How cued speech works

  • There are eight different handshapes.
  • The handshapes go in one of four places around the face.
  • A person reads cueing by looking at the handshape, where it's placed, and how the speaker's lips move.
  • For more on how cueing works, go to the Cued Speech Association UK's site.

How can I learn cued speech?
Cued speech is not widely used in the U.S. today. You may have trouble finding a transliterator or someone to teach you how to cue. Here are some places to start looking:

  • Find a cueing teacher on the National Cued Speech Association's state-by-state list of teachers.
  • Can't find a cueing teacher or transliterator near you? Call or e-mail the NCSA's information service, Cued Speech Discovery:

    The National Cued Speech Association
    23970 Hermitage Road
    Cleveland, OH 44122
    Voice/TTY: (800) 459-3529
    E-mail: cuedspdisc@aol.com

  • Look for a cued speech workshop on Cuedspeech.com's calendar page.
  • Learn how to cue online at the Art of Cueing.

What other parents say
Read what other parents said about communication choices.

Learn more about cued speech

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