Our Stories

Tiffany Matthews


Tiffany was born deaf due to Waardenberg Syndrome and grew up using Total Communication with two bilateral cochlear implants. She learned cueing only 2 years ago and has been making strides using Cued Speech transliterators in class since then. Tiffany lives in Silver Spring MD, where she studies pediatric nursing at Montgomery College.

Q: How long have you been deaf or hard of hearing? Do you use hearing aids or a cochlear implant?
Been deaf since birth due to Waardenburg Syndrome and use bilateral cochlear implants.

Q: Where do you live today? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Silver Spring, MD and currently live on my own in Silver Spring, MD 🙂

Q: How did you end up being cued to? When did you start cueing? Who cued to you?
I taught myself how to cue a year and half-2 years ago because I wanted something that could let me see the English language.

Q: What communication methods did/do you use in school- Transliterators, Terps, transcription, etc?
Growing up, I used Total Communication which is both signing and speaking and PSE interpreters. Now I use transliterators in school.

Q: What has been the impact of using Cued Speech on your life? Do you still use CS today?
Cued Speech has been a big impact in my life, only been using it for about 2 years now. I wanted something that could allow me to see the English language word for word and not being simplified and ever since I learned it, my pronunciation improved, my literacy improved, and most of all, my confidence increased drastically, especially this year. I never like to talk front of people, but learning Cued Speech and having transliterators, I am able to speak in front of a crowd, give out presentations and speak in Spanish! I do of course use Cued Speech today and ironically use it much more than signing right now.

Q: Tell me about your education. What did you study and where (if applicable)?
Right now, I’m studying to be a pediatric nurse at Montgomery College and hopefully will become a pediatric nurse practitioner and open my own clinic someday.

Q: What are you up to now?
I’m a full time college student, full time employed as a nanny, and part time, a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, who works with children regarding child safety in cars relating to car seats, teaching parents about our current laws, car seats, and teaching them how to install their car seats and use it properly. I love that job the most. So you can see, I’m very busy!

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself married, with children, and working with children. 🙂 My passion is and will always be with children.

Q: Have you got a favorite book?
A Child Called It and The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer, and Dani’s Story by Diane Lierow. I strongly recommend these books.

Q: What kind of activities do you enjoy?
Other than working with children, I enjoy crocheting, sewing, playing sports, reading, and I’m pretty sure there’s more.

Q: What would you like people to know about Cued Speech, or raising a deaf/HH child in general?
I strongly support Cued Speech, without a doubt. I do know sign language and am grateful for knowing it because it is a beautiful language among the deaf community, however if you want your deaf child to be able to learn English or even of other languages, Cued Speech is the way because it will promote literacy, reading awareness, and understandability of the English Language. I’m a strong supporter of bilingualism, personally. (My first language is not ASL, it’s English through Pidgeon Signed English)

Q: Did you ever go to a Cue Camp? Did you have a favorite camp, and why?
I went to my first Cue Camp in Maryland last year in 2011, and Cue Camp Virginia and I was awed to know that there are many cuers among in the DC Metro!!! It was a blast at both camps and both camps are equally my favorite!

Q: You are learning Spanish, right? How is Cued Speech helping with that?
Si! Cued Speech is a GODSEND to learning Spanish. I have 2 CLTs, and one is fluent in Spanish 🙂 I did take Spanish in high school with a sign language interpreter but was only able to learn through reading and writing. With Cued Speech, I am able to see it phonetically and learn how to speak the language which I have always dreamed of doing. It is a fun language to learn and I’m planning on taking further Spanish classes, in hopes to become a fluent speaker someday, and it’s all thanks to Cued Speech. Without it, this would never happen. I also took Latin last semester and it was and still is a good impact in the Spanish language. My goal is to retake Hebrew (took with an ASL interpreter) with Cued Speech this time. I have always had a knack of languages but Cued Speech increasingly enhanced that passion!

Q: I know you often go to the DC Cues on Tap. What are the benefits of going to a Cues on Tap? (besides the obvious beverages on tap!)
Heh… yes I do go there often and it’s awesome because I get to get together with other fellow cuers and chat about life, etc, plus most of these people are my age lol! Also we are able to come up ideas how to promote Cued Speech in the community because we need to spread the awareness and it’s… amazing to see a close-knit community.

Tiffany Matthews
Silver Spring, MD