I really ought to be doing my homework at the moment, but having been at work all day I thought I’d save the hard work for a bit later and post about my new learning challenge. I’m hoping to eventually master cued speech! When Abi was diagnosed with hearing loss we were immediately encouraged to think about communication and what approach we wanted to take with her. At that point we didn’t know the cause of her hearing loss and guarding against future deterioration decided to embrace total communication.
The idea of total communication is that you use speech, sign language, lip reading and anything else that might help communicate information. Cued speech did appear on the horizon briefly but BSL (British Sign Language) was more prominent and seemed more accessible (oh how I laugh at that now, struggling to find suitable lessons and money to pay for it) As such I did a family sign language course and followed it up by taking my Level 1 qualification.
Cued speech reappeared on my radar recently at a deaf pre-school group we attend each month. A tutor from the Cued Speech Association UK attended to tell us parents more about it. The poor woman had only uttered a few sentences before I started with questions, and soon realised it could be massively helpful for my little darling. To describe it basically speech sounds are represented by eight hand shapes, placed in one of four positions. String them together and you have a visual representation of speech. It all sounded pretty simple but effective, and I think it will really help with the speech sounds Abi struggles with and give her a better feel of the structure of the English language. Something I find stupidly exciting is that it is international, unlike sign language which even has regional variations. We will definitely continue with BSL but if I can get the hang of it and be using it properly before Abi starts school it should help her literacy skills no end.
So…three weeks later I find myself having my first session with a tutor. It definitely isn’t rocket science, but my fingers don’t like some of the hand shapes and I’m not convinced my brain will retain the necessary information. It’s definitely going to take some time and lots of practice, but with an hour a week booked in and homework in the form of a list of words to practice cuing I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. Wish me luck, and if you want to find out a bit more take a look here.