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An introduction to using CS

Give your child a choice

Using Cued Speech never excludes other options; it can be used to support listening and bilingually with BSL. 

CS will enable a deaf baby or child to fully understand English even if they hear nothing and will support what hearing they have. 

kathy cueing


The use of CS can change over time, usually lessening as deaf children’s understanding of English increases. 

One thing which should never be a ‘choice’ is giving your child full access to language.  Babies’ brains are hard-wired to learn language in the first three years of life and if they don’t get access to language this ability to learn will fade.  Also their poor understanding will cause them problems with literacy and accessing education.  All children, deaf or hearing, should be able to understand language without delay or ambiguity and should be able to use language age-appropriately and effectively. The questions then are: which languages? how? and does access need to be visual?

Nearly ten years ago a parent wrote: 

Cued Speech has allowed our son to understand English fully, despite having no hearing. It has been hard work, but being able to stop him having a tantrum by explaining to him, in English, that he can go and play in the sand after we’ve found his buggy and changed his nappy, so why doesn’t he come and help me find his buggy? … Or that he will be able to have his biscuit as soon as I have put the shopping in the car and got him in his car seat … is worth everything!’ 

Read full the inspiring story and more about choices that parents have made, here.

What can I expect from using Cued Speech?

Clear, accessible language

A parent writes:  

 When I stared to use CS with my baby it was so wonderful be able to cue whatever I wanted to say and know it was TOTALLY clear.  Like any baby, he didn’t understand it to start with, but quite soon he began to make the association between the cued words (with the addition of the few sounds he could hear) and names, objects, and ideas - just as a hearing baby would.  He learnt language at about the same pace as his hearing friends and when he started school his language was about the same as the hearing children and his school work showed he was thinking in full English.

Although he was so deaf that he needed CS to learn English he didn’t use it to communicate - he just talked.  He was quite hard for strangers to understand when he was very young but, with the help of a speech and language therapist, his speech became easily understandable by everyone as he grew up.

Changing use over time and circumstances. 

The way you use Cued Speech may vary:

  • over time, e.g. lessening as a child matures and becomes more language-competent
  • according to situations, e.g. sometimes just clarifying a word where the rest of the sentence was well known and easily lip-read; other times giving full language access. 

Also the aims of the person using it may be very different.  They may aim to support 

There is no ONE way to use Cued Speech – but some ways achieve greater results.language acquisition in the home from diagnosis (in which case the outcomes can be life-changing (evidence) or it can also be used to meet smaller targets, for example, to simply teach phonics at school – in which case the outcomes will be less. 


Watch a video about a fictional parent’s choice:


Watch videos of parents’ stories here

Read more about using Cued Speech with BSL to give ‘Complete Bilingualism

Read more about how your choice to use CS can be supported at home and when my child is at school here

Link to legal situation and learn to cue.


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