National Cued Speech Association

NCSA Cueing Pioneers Award

Cueing Pioneers Award is given to parents or professionals who recognized the potential of Cued Speech, began to use it in its initial stages, and stayed with it. Presented on July 22, 2006. In alphabetical order:

Andrew BaldersonAndrew Balderson became active in the cueing community in 1975. Andy was active in the formation of the Cued Speech Association, and was president in 1978 and 1979. He worked with the Scher and McIntosh families to get funding for the Cued Speech Program at the National Child Research Center. Next he, the Schers and the Fellows were successful in getting the Cued Speech track established in Montgomery County Public schools under PL 94 –142. He was also one of the three major people who worked in the creation of the NCSA (1982), and then he served on the board of that organization.
Mary Lou Barwell was a teacher of the deaf who had learned Cued Speech in Australia and then worked at the Gallaudet preschool. She was ready when Dr Cornett worked to establish a cueing class, and she became the teacher in the cueing preschool on the Gallaudet campus in 1972. With a lot of work from Dr. Cornett, parents, and supportive professionals, the program moved to its own space at the National Child Research Center off the campus in 1973. Mary Lou also worked as a parent-infant teacher, going into many homes with Cued Speech lessons, and teaching parents how to work with their deaf infants and toddlers. When children graduated from NCRC, Mary Lou supported their parents looking for alternative private and public schools. During the 1977-1979 school years, she met with supervisors and taught training classed to professionals in Montgomery County to prepare for the Cued Speech Program which began in the fall of 1979. After the NCRC program ended, she began teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools. She currently teaches an upper elementary self-contained Cued Speech class and provides resource services for mainstreamed students at Flower Valley Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland. According to “her parents,” Mary Lou had the special intuitive quality of being able to thoroughly relate to and connect with those she taught. That quality made her exceptional. She was the professional in the trenches, who carried them along and brought them to the point of confident independence.
Jay and Kaydee (deceased) Fellows started to cue in 1971 with their daughter Tiri, and Jay was president of the Cued Speech Association twice during the next few years. Tiri was one of the first three students to have a cueing teacher at National Child Research Center. They worked with the Schers and Baldersons to convince Montgomery County that PL 94 -142 should be used to start a Cued Speech track in the county. Tiri then attended grade three in Montgomery County Public Schools without a transliterator. Her good performance that year convinced officials to hire the first transliterator, Linda Balderson. Kaydee also worked as a transliterator in the county.
Karen (deceased) and Chuck McIntosh worked with Barry Scher and Andy Balderson to get funding for the Cued Speech Program at the National Child Research Center (NCRC), the first program that used cueing teachers. After NCRC, Robbie attended the Montessori Childrens House in nearby Bowie, Md - 20 minutes away from Crofton, his hometown - for elementary school after filing a successful suit against Anne Arundel County for educational funding in a different county (Prince Georges). The school was very receptive and enthusiastic about enrolling a deaf child that used Cued Speech. Karen worked continuously with the staff at the school. Robbie's Montessori teachers learned to cue, eliminating the need for a transliterator. Before enrolling at the Rochester Institute of Technology, his parents filed a successful suit to get CS transliterators for his courses (Biotechnology major). Karen was a dedicated and committed parent, volunteering wherever and whenever she was needed. An original Cue Camp Friendship co-founder, she worked from 1992 until her death. Chuck worked in director and executive positions on the NCSA Board during the first two decades of its existence.
Charles and Sue Swadley both signed the incorporation papers of the Charles and Sue Swadleyfirst parents’ organization, Concerned Individuals for the Educational Promotion of Cued Speech (CIEPCS), in 1973, and Charles was the first president. That year their son Paul, with Tommy Wells and Tiri Scott, was in the first class with cueing teachers, Mary Lou Barwell and Terry Vanden Bosch, at the National Child Research Center. Next they joined the other parents in convincing the Montgomery County to add a Cued Speech track alongside the oral and sign language tracks, the only program in the country to have three tracks. In 1977 all three students were mainstreamed into their local county schools, Paul going to Beech Tree Elementary School, Fairfax County, where teacher Rosemary Davis volunteered for the new program. She visited Swadleys in August and quickly learned to cue. That new school program was in Parade Magazine and on ABC News the next year. After two successful years, the Swadley family moved away and started the whole process over again.
Sheila ScherSheila Scher met some cueing parents at a meeting of parents with deaf and hard of hearing children. Their anecdotes of their children’s language levels convinced Sheila that Cued Speech was worth investigating for her deaf two year old, Steven, whose language was delayed. She quickly met with Dr. Cornett at Gallaudet. His vision matched hers, and Sheila immediately began learning to cue and found a cueing tutor for Steven. In the Fall of 1976, he entered the National Child Research Center with two other children. Returning to Steven’s previous program after NCRC ended was not acceptable, so Sheila joined the other parents in convincing the Montgomery County to add a Cued Speech track alongside the oral and total communication tracks, the only program in the country to have three tracks. In those early years Sheila was the "on-call" parent / interpreter / substitute teacher for the Cued Speech program. It was a new situation and the parents wore many hats. She was always available to the teachers and any staff member to help ensure that the Cued Speech track would be successful and a continuing part of deaf education. Sheila served as the Cued Speech Association president in 1981, was one of the founding members of the Maryland Cued Speech Association, and was an important part of the Cue Camp Friendship team from 1992 to 1999.
Kathy and Ron Wells discovered Tommy was deaf when he was 10 Kathy and Ron Wellsmonths old, in 1971, and learned about Cued Speech through talking with parents and teachers at the Gallaudet Preschool Program. Mary Lou Barwell worked at the Gallaudet preschool, and taught the first class using Cued Speech. Terry Vanden Bosch, another cueing teacher of the deaf, along with Mary Lou Barwell, and other regular teachers who learned to cue, taught Tommy, Tiri Scott and Paul Swadley at the National Child Research Center the next fall. Tommy learned language by leaps and bounds, and the family was hooked on cueing. They were able to communicate easily and accurately, as the four Wells children played and grew up as native English language users. Kathy and Ron were involved from the beginning in the first Cued Speech Association, with Kathy serving as president in 1980.

Cueing Pioneers – Second Group

The second group “did it alone in the areas where they lived.” “We became discouraged, but never with Cued speech.”

Parents who do it alone are “strong, self motivated and proud,” said William Robers. “There is a special bond between them.” Dr. Cornett added, “...hence the observation by many educators that Cued Speech is a method for the elite.”

Ardith and Robert Beadles were in the early cueing group. They began cueing to daughter Elena (born in 1967) in 1970 by using audio tapes provided by Dr. Cornett. After learning to cue, they worked with their daughter at home to increase her language level before she entered kindergarten at age six at Durham Academy in Durham, NC, until she graduated high school. Elena only received Cued Speech at home. Robert was instrumental in obtaining grant funding for the automatic cuer project. He was Principal Investigator and Dr. Cornett was Project Manager throughout their research with the automatic cuer.
Donna and Peter Consacro read about Cued Speech in the 1978 Parade Magazine article and attended the first cueing workshop. After a year cueing and signing, they went against the advice of area professionals and put Grace into an integrated setting without a transliterator but with consistent cueing at home. In a year, with a Family Cueing Vacation and some videotaped cued stories for practice, reading made sense to Grace, and books became her teachers. Grace was the only deaf child in her school and was in fifth grade before she had her first transliterator.
June Dixon-Millar brought Cued Speech to the United Kingdom in 1970. She is the founder and first Director of the Cued Speech Association UK, formerly The National Centre for Cued Speech, founded in 1975. She trained at Homerton College, Cambridge and at Manchester University Department of Education for the Deaf. She is an international lecturer and author of numerous articles for professional journals on deafness. She has been a committee member of charities connected with deafness and communication, advised the UK Government on Cued Speech, which culminated in its acceptance. She has adapted Cued Speech into 12 languages. She has published training materials for all ages of deaf people with different degrees and types of hearing loss, and this year produced a CD-ROM ‘Cued Speech Activities for Children’.
Elizabeth Hightower (St. Louis, MO) began cueing with Sarah in 1976 when she was 5 1/2 years old, and her parents cued all the time, though there has seldom been a transliterator in school.
Nancy and Ken (deceased) Johndrow (Ellington, CT) discovered Cued Speech through an article in Parade Magazine in 1978. At that same time Dr. Cornett was a presenter at the Alexander Graham Bell convention nearby, and Ken and Nancy met him there. Intrigued by what Dr Cornett claimed about Cued Speech, they brought their family to the first Cued Speech Family Program in the summer of 1978. Within six weeks of returning home the success shown by Scott in both his expressive and receptive language was incredible. The decision to continue to cue was made. Scott, with a Cued Speech interpreter/tutor, attended kindergarten in his home school, achieving all goals set for him as well as receiving high recommendations from his teachers. Even so, his elementary school felt that they could not meet Scott’s needs. Nancy and Ken went through due process. The Board reconsidered, and Scott continued his successful educational experience through the Ellington School system, which shared the success that he had with other school systems around the country. Nancy taught many of Scott’s teachers and interpreters to cue.
The Johndrows were part of a phenomenon that occurred over and over at family cue camps: parents were alone in cueing where they lived, but came to camp every year to be with other parents who believed that cueing was the best way for their child. They encouraged each other with their success stories and supported each other during the hard times. The Maslins, Wheelers, Johndrows and McGlones - “The Big Four” - met that first summer and returned every summer for years, learning themselves but also helping with other families who were there. Their cueing children, Scott, Amy and the two Jeffs, were known as “the pioneers”.
Rebecca JonesWhen Peter and Rebecca Jones discovered their daughter was deaf, they were working in France. Rebecca heard about Cued Speech from her mother, who read about it in a pamphlet. Rebecca visited the United States and met with Dr. Cornett. She and Peter began to cue in English when Stasie was 2 years, 4 months old. After only six months, Stasie had over 500 spoken words and had begun to speak some French. Her parents cued in English at home and in French outside the home. Stasie became fluent in both languages and completed her education in French. Twice in her childhood, Stasie had a few months in a cued English educational environment, but her family did not move back to the U.S. until she was at Wellesley College.Peter Jones Cued Speech provided Stasie with a sound language base, which allowed her later to learn German, Spanish, and Russian. After receiving her BA, she got two Master's degrees and is presently teaching at Kendall School and working on a PhD.The Jones family also passed their success with Cued Speech along to the French speech therapists and parents of deaf children. This soon led to the creation of the French Cued Speech Association, the Association Langage Parlé Completé.
Mike and Janeane Maslin (New Jersey) read about Cued Speech in the 1978 Parade Magazine article and attended Gallaudet for a class with Mary Elsie Daisey and Betsy Kipila as instructors. Jeff was six and in pre-school. After one bad experience, Mike and Janeane went to their second IEP meeting at school with a copy of the law and a plan of action. The school system was cooperative when the Maslins stated that mainstreaming would be the least restrictive environment. At home, Janeane cued and Mike signed for a year, and then they began to cue exclusively. Janeane was Jeff’s transliterator until a trained transliterator was provided. The whole family went to the first Family Cued Speech Program at Gallaudet the summer of 1978 and for many more years.
Kent and Peggy McGlone (Fredericksburg, VA) read about Cued Speech in that Spring 1978 Parade Magazine article when Amy was 22 months old. After being in an oral/aural program and then Sign Language, using their own language made sense to them. The Monday after they read the article, Peggy called the Cued Speech Office at Gallaudet and talked to Dr. Cornett for 1 ½ hours, arranging to learn Cued Speech there two weeks later. After that 3 day class they felt free to say anything to Amy, slowly, of course. She responded quickly to cueing, and they were thrilled when their other 5 children learned to cue and within days were much better and faster than they were. That summer of 1978 they attended the Family Cued Speech Program with the Maslins, and met Wheelers and Johndrows: The Big Four.
A pre-school teacher learned to cue to work with Amy. The parents of the other hearing-impaired children in her class were insistent that Amy must be able to hear. Eventually, they all changed their children to C.S Signing teachers in the school kept telling parents of the other children that C.S. would not work if a child had no hearing. Amy was mainstreamed in the public school system from the second grade aided by a C.S. transliterator. Many times it was a lonely struggle to fight for what they believed to be best for their daughter. “But we are glad she's always been a part of our family, knowing inside jokes and family secrets. Best of all, we talk with her, and she is with us in good times and in bad times.”
Diane and William Robers heard about Cued Speech when Gina was 2 years old. They attended a two-day workshop presented by Dr. Cornett near them in February of 1979. They saw immediate results even with their limited cueing abilities. Before long, Gina’s word comprehension was growing so quickly that the Robers realized they had to become better trained just to keep up with her progress. They went to a week long Family Cued Speech Workshop at Gallaudet College in 1979. Soon the family and their baby sitter were able to cue Happy Birthday to three-year-old Gina. With her expanding understanding, Gina had lost almost all of that frustration that is so typical from a lack of communication. Cueing was not allowed in her school for deaf children, so Gina was home schooled for pre-school. In elementary school, Gina was mainstreamed and had a transliterator in high school. The family always cued, giving Gina the rich language that families build together.
Stan RupertStan Rupert attended the first Cued Speech workshop at Gallaudet College July 12-17, 1967 with a group of nine other administrators or classroom supervisors to learn Cued Speech. These ten people learned the system and its purpose in one week. The second workshop, July 19 -24, included 100 people from the United States who broke into groups of ten and were instructed by the first group. Because of a last minute cancellation at the second workshop, Joan was able to attend. The Idaho State School for the Deaf was interested in this new visual aid to language, so Stan gave cueing workshops for the staff. The preschool/elementary department decided to employ Cued Speech on a trial basis, incorporating it into an already oral department for two years. Because of the 1969 "wave" of total communication, the administration decided to disband Cued Speech and adopt a signed English system. The Ruperts were offered jobs in California at the Solano County program for deaf and hard of hearing students because they were using Cued Speech, and it was offered as a communication option for families for 10 years. Joan opened the West Coast Cued Speech Resource Center in 1983. Stan and Joan continue to teach Cued Speech, present at professional meetings and support cueing families in the Western region.
Eleanor and Richard Sharp’s son David was eight and not doing well in language when they read about Cued Speech in their local Philadelphia paper in 1978, and decided to attend the Gallaudet workshop. There they met cueing children the same age as David who blew them away with their ability to read. Eleanor and Richard knew then that they had to learn this method. They arranged for Mary Lou Barwell to come to their home and help them implement the Tate curriculum (from Australia). They shared their exciting information about Cued Speech with other families and together created a cueing program for their children, with Pam Planker as teacher. But when the school district continually resisted providing the services requested, the Sharps decided to move to St. Amant, LA, where there was a cueing program. After a year of concentrated language learning, they moved back, closer to home, and Eleanor became David’s full-time transliterator in school. Even though a late starter, David did well with all the cueing support from his family.
When Pat and David Wheeler’s son Jeff, was born in 1966, there didn’t seem to be a lot of options for a family determined to treat their son as normally as possible. Pam Beck was an early elementary school teacher who suggested Cued Speech to them. They were a bit resistant but decided to give it a try. The whole family attended the 1978 summer Family Cued Speech Program at Gallaudet College. Jeff’s sister, Kristan, needed to know there were other little girls with deaf siblings. From that point on cueing was a natural part of the Wheelers’ lives. In junior and senior high, other families and the educators resisted ”that thing you do on your hands”, but Jeff succeeded in spite of them. He was cited at his graduation (with Kristin as transliterator) as a lesson in overcoming obstacles. When he graduated from NTID and then RIT his advisor told Wheelers that Jeff was the most “normal” deaf kid he had ever met. Cued Speech made that possible. It was from the small, widely spread group of cuers in Connecticut and the families at the Summer Family Cued Speech Program that Pat and David drew the support and strength they needed to succeed through these years.
Learn about and help support our Deaf Children's Literacy Project »
  • Daily Cues - Figure out your cue notation!
  • Cue for You Transliterating Services - CLT Services
  • iBooks - Cued Speech
  • Help families in need for Cued Speech camps by donating to the Deaf Children's Literacy Project
  • Nuby, Inc - High Quality, Chemical Free Baby Products
  • Deaf Childrens Literacy Project champions literacy and phonetics for families of deaf and hard of hearing children
Clickable images to articles, sites.