Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from S. K.

I hear that research is showing that deaf children who use Cued Speech as are achieving literacy rates similar to those of their hearing peers. Also, I am reading that there is Brain research to support that cueing children are processing language in a manner that allows them to have access to the phonological awareness ( which is essential reading and literacy) in the same manner as hearing children.) I’d like to find more information on this subject. any idea?

Question from S. K.. Posted June 25, 2009.
Response from Marc Marschark - NTID

You might look at the earlier response to Ginny R. about cued speech and literacy. I cannot find any research relating to cued speech and brain activity, but there is research by Jacqueline Leybaert and her colleagues in Belgium indicating that cued speech (when used at both school and at home) facilitates phonological/phonemic awareness and other literacy subskills for children learning French. Leybaert previously had found that some deaf children develop phonological (sound-related) codes by combining information from lipreading, residual hearing, printed, fingerspelling, and feedback from their own speech. This is similar to the way that many blind people develop visual images for things they have never seen by combining information from several sources. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to predict which deaf children will develop such codes and which will not. Meanwhile, cued speech has not been shown to facilitate the development of literacy skills for English, and there appears to be very little research going on in this domain, perhaps because of the increasing popularity of cochlear implants.