I’ve had the pleasure of immersing myself into the deaf community for the past 16 years, and being a hearing women; I would say that I am the happiest when I am signing. I sign in the car with my favorite tunes blaring as loud as possible, and I’ll call my deaf friends on face time and chit chat with them after a long day, and I know they can always make me laugh or give me some insight. I even have the pleasure of signing with my children- who are not deaf. I love that I was able to learn this beautiful language and I would encourage you to learn too!
Few would argue against the merits of learning multiple languages. According to Handspeak.com a resource for the Deaf and those interested in the Deaf community, multilingual students and employees excel at a rate far greater than their monolingual peers. What few people realize, however, is that American Sign Language (ASL)—because of its unique gestural structure—presents signers and their communities with additional benefits.
The fact is, ASL is more common than you might think. Handspeak.com, notes that Sign Language is the 8th most used language in the world and it takes a very short time to learn basic communication, just about 10 weeks to be precise. Studies have shown an increase in sales in businesses from having employees that know ASL and knowing the language also increases your marketability as an employee too future employers. Liz Broelli author of Medical Daily Pulse an online medical journal mentions that by learning a second language such as Sign Language it has been proven to improve cognitive functions and it can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.
ASL can help children develop verbal skills. Judy Feekes author of the book Let your Fingers do the Talking says that learning ASL at an early age is beneficial for language and development purposes and it also introduces the language (ASL) at an early age. Sign Language is proven to enhance language development for those who are hearing and a great resource for those who are having trouble with speaking or learning a spoken language.
Most importantly ASL can bridge the gap between hearing communities and deaf culture. Those who are deaf are expected to become oral at an early age to communicate with the hearing population. John Hopkins University records that even the most skilled lip readers can only grasp about 70 percent of the conversation. To break the communication barrier I suggest we learn this beautiful language. If you are hesitating that you may not even remember the essential signs to communicate, not to worry because there is a really great app for the techies out there, it’s called The ASL APP and it’s free so, now you can have American Sign Language at your fingertips!