Courageous Cued Speech
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Mary Elsie Daisey is a courageous mother. As the first mother to use Cued Speech with her deaf child, she is a pioneer of a system invented by Dr. R Orin Cornett in 1966. In order to test its efficacy, Cornett persuaded her to try his brand new invention; a manual system to support speech perception and language acquisition. Mary must have been full of doubts about taking on such a challenge. She must have worried about the outcomes of the trial and whether it would be a successful method for her child. But, like all true pioneers, she possessed the courage, vision, persistence and passion to take those first steps into the darkness, to be able to shed light on new possibilities and discover a new way for deaf children to acquire language and thrive.
Mary wrote of that first encounter, “I did not know what a lasting effect he (Dr. R Orin Cornett) would have on my life when we first met him back in September 1966. Our 2-year-old daughter, Leah, had just been diagnosed profoundly deaf and we knew absolutely nothing about deafness. Dr. Cornett’s assistant, Barbara Caldwell, began our education by explaining the current oral and manual options and then the new communication system her boss had just developed. It was called Cued Speech and he was anxious to have a family try it. When we met with Dr. Cornett, he convincingly described his system but cautioned that it had never been tried with a deaf child and that we should go home and think about it. He said we must realize that his enthusiasm was because Cued Speech was “his baby” – he believed it would work but he did not know that it would. In other words, he needed a guinea pig family to prove it would work — that the use of Cued Speech would provide for a deaf baby the natural language development, communication skills, and reading ability to function comfortably and optimally in the wide world around us.
We immediately decided to try Dr. Cornett’s new system and thus acquired the honor of being the first family to benefit from the use of Cued Speech. And we discovered in just one month that it was working! We had a remarkable communication system that allowed our family of five children to communicate with each other and their parents, and our deaf child was learning language and becoming a truly participating member of that family. Cued speech worked!”
Mary Elsie Daisey is co-author (with Dr. R Orin Cornett) of The Cued Speech Resource Book for Parents.
You can see Mary talking in this video about her success with Cued Speech when she was interviewed by William Friday on North Carolina People in 1985.
If you have a deaf child or want to learn more about Cued Speech, you can contact Cued Speech UK by using our contact page, you can also send an email to [email protected] or you can call us on 01803 712553.
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