Cued Speech: Guide

Cate Calder | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Importance of early language acquisition.

All children need to learn language when they are very young because their brains are most sensitive to language when they are babies and toddlers.

Researchers looking at the general population have found that some parents talked to their children very much more than others and that by the time the children were three years old children with chatty parents had vocabulary around twice that of the group which had less input.  This difference in language skills can be seen from infancy and the gap widens with age affecting their literacy and education.

For deaf children learning language can break down at the very first stage: if they can’t hear the speech their parents use, or they hear it indistinctly or intermittently – they don’t (or don’t easily) learn language. 

On the other hand, research shows that: 

  • spoken language clarified by Cued Speech can be understood by young deaf babies 
  • Deaf children brought up with it can: 
  • make better use of their hearing aids or cochlear implants 
  • achieve literacy levels equal to those of hearing children 
  • be fully included in everyday conversations with their hearing family
  • develop language at a pace and level which matches hearing peers. 


Download a document which explains what CS is, the issues it helps to overcome, who CS can be used with and how you can learn to cue.

Early exposure to language  is important.  Cueing can give children, with any degree of hearing loss, a way to visually access the language of the home from birth.

An article by Betty Hart and Todd Risley describing research shows that the number of words a typical child is exposed to by the age of 4 will have a lasting impact on their own vocabulary and literacy skills.  Poor readers have been shown to be exposed to 30 million less words than children with high attainment in language and literacy.