5 Benefits of Learning Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that everyone should learn, deaf or hearing. ASL can be useful in situations that you might not have thought of before.   

There are numerous benefits to ASL and here are just a few: 

1. It surrounds us

Many people in the United States know and use ASL. While you may not see it or know many individuals who use it as their native language, it remains as a present community throughout the world. The deaf community can sometimes go unnoticed, however, the language is all around us. For instance, you might be working in the communications industry and work with a client that has a team member or some other individual who signs. You could also be working fast food or retail and an individual orders or needs help in sign. It is a great skill to know for professional settings because you never know who you will interact with. 

2. Introduces you to a new culture and community

ASL and the deaf community need to be appreciated and recognized. Learning ASL can give you insight about the community. If you are learning sign, interacting with the deaf community is a great way to practice and sharpen your signing skills.  

3. Helps you become a better listener

When an individual is using sign language you must engage and listen with your eyes. You have to keep in constant eye contact with the person and their hands. Not paying attention and dazing off for a slight moment can make understanding the statement more difficult. Unlike the hearing world, you can't turn away and continue to listen to the person talk. By keeping consistent eye contact you are showing and giving your full attention. 

4. Fun and easy to learn 

Believe it or not, ASL is easier to learn than you think. For starters, a lot of words are common gestures that you would normally represent with your hands. ASL also has other components such as emphasis on facial expressions, body movements like shifting and certain placement of the hands and fingers. The alphabet is quick to learn after some practice because before you know it, you'll be able to sign your name. With dedication and effort learning ASL is definitely possible and worth it. 

5. You can use it all the time

Sign language has an advantage over other languages because it can be used when speaking is impossible. For instance, if you are under water, about to have a mouth-full, in a loud environment, across the room from someone or just don't want someone around you to know what you are saying. 

Remember that while you may not personally know someone who is deaf or uses ASL, there are still individuals around you who do. If you are interested in learning the American Sign Language or more about the deaf community, research the web or go to a library close by. There are numerous resources that can help you learn about the language.