Updated: Oct 12
There are some obvious benefits of learning sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing. American Sign Language and other variations help these individuals express themselves and communicate with others. However, there are many other perks that you can experience when learning to sign even if you aren’t deaf or hard of hearing. Here are some great and overlooked benefits of sign language:
You get to become familiar with a whole new culture and community
Getting to know new cultures and communities often goes hand in hand with picking up a new language. As you grow in your knowledge of sign language, you become exposed to a whole new group of people that you can interact with. Once you are able to communicate through ASL or another form, you can learn all about others in the signing community and make new friends that you otherwise might not have connected with.
Sign language can help parents communicate with their babies
In her article 4 Scientific Reasons Why Everyone Should Learn ASL, author Sara Seamons points out that sign language can allow babies to communicate earlier and more effectively. Teaching babies to sign is more common these days, and for good reason. When babies are able to express themselves through sign language, they can alert adults when something is wrong. Giving infants this ability to communicate more precisely can not only help parents understand them better, but it can also help to build trust between child and parent earlier on.
Learning a second language can improve cognitive function
According to handspeak.com, understanding two languages, no matter what they are, can provide plenty of cognitive advantages. For example, when you learn a second language, you can experience improved problem-solving and listening skills. When it comes to sign language, the number of cognitive benefits are even greater. For example, learning to communicate through signing can improve spatial awareness, which is a particularly important skill for children to develop early on.
Sign language can be used in situations where spoken word cannot
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to communicate something to a friend but couldn’t? Perhaps you were at a very noisy event or you wanted to share private information in a public space. In some situations, sign language can be a great way to express ideas and emotions with others in a more private manner.
It opens the door for exciting new career opportunities
Sign language interpreters are needed in many different contexts, whether it is to work directly with a deaf or hard of hearing client or to interpret during a lecture, play, or concert. Interpreting can be a very fulfilling job, whether you are looking for a steady career or some freelance work. Aside from interpreter work, fluency in sign language can also help you land a job teaching the language to others. What could be more rewarding than passing these many benefits onto new students?
There are so many benefits to learning sign language, and it’s never too late to start. If you are a parent and are interested in encouraging your child to learn ASL, check out My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me, a book that teaches kids how to use sign language for simple conversations.