American Sign Language is the 3rd most used language in North America after English and Spanish and it is the primary sign language in use with an estimated 2 million people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, using it as a means of communication.
American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete language made up of signs by hand gestures, facial expressions, and body postures which all come together to form an important part of being able to communicate easily and effectively.
In addition, there are many professional and personal uses of ASL around the world and many new applications are being discovered every day. American Sign Language is the favored means of communication at various venues, events, and situations.
Why it’s Important to Learn American Sign Language:
American sign language is not only valuable to the hearing impaired but also the hearing population. Research shows that learning sign language is beneficial to hearing adults and children as well.
The following are some of these benefits:
1. It improves spelling:
Studies show that children learning basic sign language skills have improved spelling skills. This is because signing helps kids with another tool for mastering spelling-words and leaves a bigger imprint on their brains.
Because of the presence of the mini-memories in our muscles, it is easy to remember when we orally spell the word and sign it. Good spelling skills translate to good writing skills. This is so dear to many of us.
2. Improves classroom management:
Teachers who apply the use of sign language in the hearing classrooms find manage their classrooms better. Using sign reduce interruptions during lecture, therefore, assisting the teacher to keep the students on track. This is because learning always requires some silence for it to be effective.
Teachers and learners with sign language skills thus will achieve this silence by applying the use of signs at some point during the lecture.
3. It enhances small motor skills:
The dexterity needed for communicating with hand-gestures in the sign language helps in developing motor skills. Those people with a problem in small muscle coordination and strength are able to develop their skills and also learn to effectively communicate with other languages.
Other Applications of American Sign Language:
1. Loud Venues:
American Sign Language is commonly used at loud venues where normal communication is not possible, such as at construction sites, musical concerts and racing events. Through ASL, you can easily communicate with others, regardless of the loud background noise, even with earplugs to protect your hearing.
2. Scuba Diving:
Basic training in ASL is a requirement for anyone wishing to go scuba diving. ASL helps in communicating with others underwater where no other means of communication is possible.
3. Covert Operations:
American Sign Language is regularly used by the military during covert operations when there may be a need for complete silence. With ASL, communication is possible with the team members even over long distances with the help of binoculars.
4. Music Industry:
People who play live music on a regular basis, ASL is is an imperative skill if they want to keep their hearing. It is especially important for people who play loud amplified music or loud instruments. With ASL, it is possible to wear earplugs and communicate.
5. Radio Station:
American Sign Language is commonly used in radio stations and recording studios around the world. With ASL it is possible to communicate with other people during a live recording without talking and interrupting the show.
6. Music Concert or Theatre Event:
ASL is used for communication by technicians working to set up a live venue or an event. With ASL, it is possible to communicate over distances for slight adjustments to sound levels, even during a live event.
Now you know that to learn American sign language is important to all of us and it can be a lifesaver at times when normal communication is not possible. Whether you have a hearing impairment or not, child or an adult, this sign language will do you good. With the above benefits associated with it, we surely need to make it our favorite!
Can you think of any other uses of Sign Language? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post if you enjoyed reading it.