Using Cued Speech with Special Needs ChildrenBy Pamela H. Beck, 2002
Cued Speech is used with children with and without hearing loss for a variety of purposes, such as accelerating the learning phonics or speech or language instruction. The children may be typical children or have autism, apraxia, cerebral palsy, deaf-blindness, developmental disabilities or other learning needs.
Our most special children are those who have one or more additional disabilities with their hearing loss.
Cued Speech has unique attributes for addressing several needs simultaneously. The following chart delineates some needs and explains how your use of Cued Speech will help you meet those needs.
Your Child's Needs
When you use Cued Speech
This skill is critical to learning to articulate and to developing the base for learning to read.
Some children are hypersensitive to sound or have no access to sound.
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...Your child will see the sequence of sounds as well as hear it.
...When your child copies the sequence by cueing-and-saying it himself, a motoric pattern in his hand reinforces what is being said, building a neurological pattern in his brain. This is the base for language.
This is important for some children in developing auditory processing of language.
Let’s consider some of the specific suggestions for using Cued Speech with specific disabilities:
How You Will Use Cued Speech
If your child has some vision, you need to be sure you are at the best distance for your child to see your mouth and cues. You may need to be very close to your child’s face.
Your child may need to place one hand on your face (Tadoma) and the other on your cueing hand. Research shows that Cued Speech is the most effective supplement to Tadoma for perceiving vowels and consonants, providing the child with nearly-perfect discrimination of consonant-vowel pairs.1
If your child has more vision, you may need only to be sure you are at the best distance for the child to see you.
If your child flicks his fingers in front of his eyes for stimulation, Cued Speech provides a meaningful alternative activity for his fingers.
Apraxia, Dyspraxia, Aphasia
When you cue and speak slowly to your child, his or her attention is drawn to the appropriate speech movements differentiated by the cues.
Your next strategy is to encourage your child to initiate both the speech production and the cues--starting with individual sounds and expressions such as oh! ah! Mom! oo! boo! ba!
When your child copies, learns, and uses the cues, the motor movements of the hand act as a trigger for the muscles of the face, reminding and releasing them to perform.
Unable to use hands
Your use of cueing will give your child the benefit of developing the spoken language base for reading and full inclusion at home and school. For his expressive communication, the Nu-Vue-Cue grid is a simple tool. Depending on your child’s capabilities, he can point with his head, foot, or eyegaze for the full range of spoken communication at minimal cost.
Hypersensitive to sound
Down Syndrome; developmentally delayed
You will need to do many repetitions over time, encouraging your child to imitate your speech and cues. Make it fun, in the bathtub, on the swing, with music, and using all his senses and his body.
Progress is likely to be slower for the special child than for a child with no additional disabilities. Be patient — you can feel confident that you are laying down the appropriate base for your child’s development of language, literacy and spoken communication.
Discussion:1. Understanding your child’s needs:
- List and evaluate the needs of your child. Take time to envision yourself as your child.
- Look at each category of the charts and review your list in comparison to them. Discuss each of your child’s disabilities, one at a time, and consider the effect of that disability on perception and learning.
- Ask a proficient cuer to use one or two vowels and two simple words in Cued Speech to demonstrate and discuss how the use of Cued Speech helps you meet each of your child’s needs.
Activities With Your Child:2. Practicing Cued Speech with your child:
- Learn one or two vowels (/ah/ and /a/) and two simple words (“mama” and “dada”) in Cued Speech to demonstrate and practice using Cued Speech with your child and his/her specific needs. (For example, learn to cue /ah/. If your child is not visually attentive, catch his attention with your hand in front of his eyes, lead his eyes with your hand up to your cheery face, cue-and-say /ahhhhh/. Wait briefly for a response. You may need to repeat this. You may need to let your child grasp and hold onto your cueing hand as you lead his gaze to your face and cue.
- It is easy to go from cueing-and-saying “ah” to cueing-and-saying “mama”! Be sure to have a happy expressive face, and cue-and-speak slowly so your child has time to think about it and react. (See the demonstration of a mother cueing with her child in Lesson One of the Discovering Cued Speech Instructional Video.)
- Now learn and try “a” and “dada”.
4. Let your child participate in the full sensory-integrated experience of Cued Speech by letting him touch and play with your face with one hand while grasping your cueing hand with his other hand. This can be done in a number of positions; e.g. while he is lying on his back in your lap, sitting in a baby seat, or being held in one of your arms while the other arm is free for cueing. . Be sure to be expressive with your face and voice, and pause to let your child or imitate you or lead you to a new sound or syllable!
5. Call the National Cued Speech Association at 1-800-459-3529 for more information about using Cued Speech or NU-VUE-CUE with your child and networking with other families. You can also contact NCSA through our contact page at www.cuedspeech.org/contact.
References(References are available through the National Cued Speech Association):
“The Child with More Than One Disability” in The Cued Speech Resource Book for Parents of Deaf Children. Cornett, R.Orin and Mary Elsie Daisey. The National Cued Speech Association, 2001, pages 537-555.
“Sound Approach” Beck, Pamela. ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
July 6, 1998, pp. 30-31.
“The Eyes Have It.” Clark, Roselyn D. Information Sheet about Nu-Vue-Cue, for children unable to speak.
“Cued Speech.” Dixon-Millar, June. Article regarding the use of Cued Speech with children who are deaf and blind. SENSE magazine, Summer 1987
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