Our aim is to vastly increase the numbers of deaf children and adults who can benefit from the use of cued speech.
Our purpose is to provide information, training and support in cued speech to parents/family members and professionals.
There are currently about 800 babies who are born deaf each year many of whom are born to hearing families. Cued speech makes the home language visible so you cue as you speak to a deaf child/baby. There are 8 hand shapes and 4 hand positions which are the 'cues' of speech turning the 44 sounds of speech into visible units and like sounds this can be combined into words and sentences so a deaf baby/child can see what you are saying. A hearing baby will be listening to a parent from birth so a deaf baby will need to see what is being spoken in the same crucial time frame for language development.
Our objective is to work towards ensuring that deaf children can fully comprehend oral speech at home and school, enabling them to fully participate and thrive in their family and social context. With the use of Cued Speech lip reading skills can be improved from 36% without CS to 96% successful. With a complete understanding of English and access to literacy that Cued Speech provides, deaf children can engage fully in society and reach their academic and economic potential.
We are working to support three key areas of work:
Apart from creating a large body of information to disseminate amongst parents and professionals over many years our development and delivery of on-line training over the last 6 months has been outstanding. Together with our marketing strategy this has created a huge impact on professionals wanting to know more about cued speech and its application.
The addition of a Family Support Practitioner also in the last 6 months has made a significant difference to how we are actively supporting parents. This role gives us the opportunity to work closely with other teams who work around the deaf child such as an audiologist, speech and language therapist, teacher of the deaf, deaf camhs (child and adolescent mental health services and cochlear implant teams.
We are also working with other organisations for the deaf who have a well-established identity.
Our work has been piloted and evidenced in the south west region through a budget that has been roughly £200K per annum but we have big aspirations to increase this to £800k over the next three years in order to create similar hubs or teams in three other regions across the UK. We already have considerable interest in London, South Wales, Bristol and Newcastle.
While Cued Speech has been in existence in the UK for over 25 years, the last year has seen significant growth in our area of work, this is without doubt an exciting time to join and actively participate in our team.