Aaron RoseI was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf at 18 months old. My parents considered the possibilities of Sign Language and the School for the Deaf. Fortunately someone came along and introduced the idea of Cued Speech. We attended Cue Camp NC at Camp Cheerio in the mountains, and it was then when I made some best friends for life. After a few years, my parents came to the conclusion that I would have better opportunities in Wilmington where there were already three families that used Cued Speech. The Payonks and the Nelsons helped pave the way for my education in the school system.
Back in the early 90’s, "special" education wasn’t as advanced as it is today for deaf and hard of hearing children. The educators and administrators deemed it appropriate to put me a year behind my peers in elementary school, but after passing every intelligence test they put in front of me it was obvious I belonged with peers my age. Hence, I’m able to say I attended first, second, and third grade in the course of one calendar year.
I received the cochlear implant at 8 years old, and from that point on my hearing only got better. The stigma that surrounded deaf people had a profound effect on me to the point where I only wanted to be considered “normal” by hearing standards. I dropped the CSTs and tackled high school on my own without any help. Yet, if it hadn’t been for Cued Speech, I would have not been able to develop the speech and language that I have today. It gave me the confidence I needed to get through high school and college. I am now in my fourth year at North Carolina State University working towards a degree in Marine Sciences.
I went to Cue Camp NC for the first time in 5 years and to Cue Camp VA for the first time ever in 2005. A year later, I went to both camps again, and it was then when I realized just how far Cued Speech has come in shaping the lives of many families. One of my goals in life is to promote Cued Speech, especially for multiple uses alongside deaf communication. I see cue camps playing a very important role in this goal, and hope to be able to volunteer at all these camps across the country so that I can meet more people and help expose Cued Speech to the rest of the country and the world.