In the words of the Cued Speech Association, Cued Speech “clarifies the lip patterns of normal speech by using eight hand-shapes in four positions near the mouth. In this way every sound uttered looks clearly different.”
Having already discovered cued speech as a recommended communication tool for those with AN/AD, we contacted the UK Cued Speech Association (http://www.cuedspeech.co.uk/) to find out how we go about learning. They pointed us to their on-line learning tool (http://www.learntocue.co.uk/) and promised to get back to us with some dates for the courses they run in London.
When we heard back (pretty promptly) this meant waiting until November / December before we could begin. Impatient as ever, we began learning online whilst we sent a request asking for at-home tutoring. This, of course, has cost implications, but would allow us to learn together, as a familly over a timescale which suited us.
And so we were introduced to the wonderful Catharine Seddon who is a fabulous teacher. Alice’s Mummy and Daddy and both sets of her Grandparents began to learn.
A pretty daunting task when Catharine first arrived on October 2nd and waved her hands around in time with a fluent pace of speech. Impressive to say the least.
Nonetheless, at the time of writing, we have had three sessions with Catharine and have pretty much learnt all the hand shapes, vowel positions and the dreaded dipthongs. Indeed, we have all now started cueing with Alice (just the basics like her name, her brother’s name etc.). Even Alice’s brother, Joseph, can cue ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’ and ‘Alice’ (typical that cueing Alice and Joseph is rather like watching an octopus having a fit – I will remember this if we ever have another child and opt for a monsyllabic name!)
I have loved every minute of the learning (I’m a competitive so-and-so and am not usually better than my wife at anything) and we are now (after about 10 hours of lessons/online learning) getting fluent, albeit at a pretty slow pace.
Our thanks go to Catharine and the Cued Speech Association for all their help and guidance.