Rapper Twista inspired by local deaf fan - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rapper Twista inspired by local deaf fan

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

For Ben Lachman, actions speak louder than words. Ben is one of Chicago-born hip hop artist Twista's biggest music fans. He's also deaf.

It wasn't Ben's disability that put him in the spotlight - it was his ability, at a very young age, to speak without words.

In 1985, Ben appeared with his mom and dad on local television demonstrating what is known as cued speech. At the time, it was considered a relatively new language skill and a little known alternative to sign language.

Cued speech is a system of eight handshapes that represent consonants and four positions around the mouth that represent vowels.

"You put them together and you can show anything in any language. Even gibberish. You can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," Ben tells us.

When Ben's parents couldn't find a school that taught cued speech, they opened one of the first in the country right outside Chicago.

The Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School is located in Wheeling. Ben now serves as the director of development for the school.

He was so confident that anyone could learn cued speech that he went to a Guinness World Record holder, the fastest rapper in the world.

"He let me see how much people who talk with cued speech could understand lyrics and the emotion that's involved. I was like 'Wow!' Get a chance to see how I get down. I was real happy about it," said Twista.

"No parent should not know about the option of cued speech. If we can help one parent communicate with one child. The work is worth it," says Ben.

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