Katie Lachman cues to her husband Ben Lachman, enabling him to better understand questions during a press conference. Katie is hearing and Ben says they cue almost everyday.
Sandy Mosetick thanks the rapper Twista for his participation with Cue Cognatio, an organization that creates visual media to inform the public about Cued Speech. "I'm very excited to be apart of it." Twista said. "I realized cued speech can actually make people more involved in music. They're able to communicate in a more emotional way, and it gives people an extra edge they didn't necessarily have with sign language," Twista said.
Elaine Dunn Engel has advocated for cued speech since learning about it in the 1970s, and even went to learn how to cue to its inventor, Dr. Orin Cornett.
National Cued Speech Association, Jacqueline Leybaert, Ph.D. and Carol J. LaSasso, Ph.D.
Cued speech, founded in 1966, is still in its infancy but has an interesting history. Click to enlarge.
Centers for Disease Control, Census Bureau.
Hearing loss affects many Americans from birth, and improving technology allows doctors to diagnose children sooner. Click to enlarge.
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An advocate for cueing
One of Cued Speech's pioneering supporters, Elaine Dunn Engel, 90, has connected with the deaf community her entire life.
Her aunt could lip-read and speak, despite losing her hearing when she was three years old. Engel's experience with her aunt led her to receive a degree in speech correction at the University of Wisconsin. Little did she know that she would devote her career and life to helping those who had hearing or speech difficulties and have such an impact on the use of cued speech.
Shortly after the birth of Engel's first son Jeffrey Liebman in 1946, she found out he was deaf. "I didn't expect to have a deaf child. While I was able to make the best of it, I knew this was a very serious problem," Engel said.
Then with a second child and a divorce, knew she needed to figure out her next move.
"I thought, I'll play my strengths. What was my strength? My strength was academics, I knew that, so I thought okay I’ll go ahead with that, so I'll learn more about speech language pathology and be able to do a better job," Engel said.
While she taught her son lip-reading, she earned her doctoral degree from Northwestern University in communicative disorders and opened up her own private practice in Evanston.
Dr. Orin Cornett, inventor of Cued Speech in 1965-1966, was giving a lecture that Engel heard in the 1970s. She found out that while Cornett was working for Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C., he discovered that deaf people were reading at a much lower reading level than expected.
"He thought they should be able to learn the language visually. So he developed this cued speech system of clarifying lip reading," Engel said.
She was so amazed with his presentation that she decided to fly to Washington, D.C. to learn from Dr. Cornett. While she did not keep up with cued speech, she recommended it to the people who came to her practice and continues to support it. She also suggested it to Ron and Mary Ann Lachman, (parents to Ben Lachman, co-founder of Cue Everything) who later became a part of the original founders of the Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School in Wheeling and AEHI (Alternatives in Education for the Hearing Impaired). Engel even served on AEHI's board as president and donated money toward their first location in Mt. Prospect for a new roof.
"I wanted to be there because I thought it was important that parents who were stuck as I was, with a young deaf baby, to have a chance to get a way to have that child become a speaking, lip-reading person," Engel said. Her son never learned cued speech, but he did learn how to lip read and speak, eventually becoming a scientist who is now living in New Jersey.
Engel also dealt with the resistance that surrounded cued speech. "There were just different ways of dealing with deaf children but it was hard to get enough support to get cued speech really on the road," Engel said.
However, she’s glad to see the efforts that have been made. The Illinois School for the Deaf was honored at a gala in April for the positive accomplishments they have seen since offering Cued Speech as well as American Sign Language. Engel served as the Guardian Angel sponsor at the event.
"I thought, wonderful. My baby has grown up, this is great! I'm still just really thrilled that AEHI has progressed as it has, that it's still available for parents with deaf children."