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Cue Camp

What is Cue Camp Virginia?

Held annually over the Columbus Day weekend, Cue Camp Virginia (CCVA) is an unforgettable learning weekend for families, educators, professionals, and friends who want to learn the Cued Speech system and/or find out more about Cued Speech and its many applications.

In the tranquility of the Williamsburg 4-H Center on the James River, participants learn and improve Cued Speech skills; learn about raising, educating and communicating with a deaf or hard-of-hearing child; and share the experiences of other families and professionals.

CCVA offers adult Cued Speech classes at the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Transliterator levels, and provides presentations of interest to both parents and professionals.

Children’s classes and exciting activities offer opportunities to make life-long friends and meet inspiring role models. Cued Speech is taught to all children’s groups.

Cue Camp activities begin on Thursday evening and run through noon on Sunday.  Attendees can use the Monday holiday to visit the historic Williamsburg-Jamestown area, or to relax and catch up after the excitement of the CCVA weekend. For families in Fairfax County Public Schools, Friday is a teacher work day with no school for students.

CCVA is run by volunteers from the Northern Virginia Cued Speech Association (NVCSA) and is sponsored by NVCSA fund-raising, a grant from the National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) and donations from various corporate and community entities. 


Why are Cued Speech and Cue Camp VA important for families?

In 1966, R. Orin Cornett, Ph.D., invented Cued Speech to address the problem of low literacy rates among the signing deaf students at Gallaudet University where he was serving as an administrator. He determined that many of these students had not acquired the 'complete language' base necessary for advanced reading comprehension and literacy. American Sign Language (ASL) does not parallel American English grammar and does not have a written or spoken form; contrary to common assumptions, ASL is not the same language as spoken/written American English.  As a result, many signing Gallaudet students were expected to read, comprehend and write in a language they had never been given the tools to fully access. Dr. Cornett invented Cued Speech to address this problem. 

Cued Speech is a simple and finite system that allows the deaf or hard-of-hearing person to receive a clear and unambiguous visual representation of all the sounds of a spoken language. (At Cue Camp Virginia we teach Cued American English, but Cued Speech has been adapted for 60 different languages.) A family that cues to a deaf child can provide complete access to the language spoken by the family, regardless of the degree of the child’s hearing loss. 

Research has shown that the family provides the most influential language model in the child’s early life. Full access to the language used in the home also contributes greatly to self-esteem, to a sense of belonging, and to the development of age-appropriate social skills. Because over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, most of these families are not equipped to serve as language models in ASL. However, with the use of Cued Speech, they can quickly become effective models of the language already used at home. 

When the language of the home is a spoken language, early cueing has been proven to provide a deaf child with the most complete comprehension and fluency in that language. Language comprehension is the key to a child’s ability to read, write, and communicate at the level of hearing peers, and to reach his or her full academic potential even as school subjects become more and more complex. Cueing teachers and use of Cued Language Transliterators in classrooms can ensure clear and unambiguous access to material presented in the classroom, enabling the student to focus on internalizing the information instead of trying to figure out what was said. 

At Cue Camp Virginia, families and professionals can learn the entire system of Cued English in one weekend, without the distractions of everyday life. Participants can gain confidence and be supported by others who are on the same journey. They can also see first-hand the successes of families and professionals who have been using Cued Speech for many years. Camp provides an opportunity to learn about the many benefits of Cued Speech, to learn how to advocate for Cued Speech as a way to meet a child’s academic needs, and to receive educational and moral support for the efforts of the Cueing family and/or professional. 

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