In America, for years, American Sign Language wasn’t considered important. Only a small percentage of the population used signs to communicate. The school systems favored spoken language over sign language. Society also enforced pressure on the deaf community to be “normal.” However, the deaf community sought to change that narrative. They wanted to establish their place in the world of hearing. And here is why American Sign Language is important.

Language Learning

Learning a new way to communicate is not an easy task. Language learners spend years expanding their vocabulary and becoming decently proficient in all areas of language acquisition.

When you finally get there and can use a second language around half as good as your native language, you open so many new doors. 

Learning American Sign Language can impact students a lot. Studies show that language can help academically, and cognitively, and be more open to other cultures or groups of people. Not only that, language learning is what will advance this and the next generation to compete in the job market. 

The Benefit of Learning ASL

Photo by SHVETS production

American Sign Language is not only important to recognize. There are also so many benefits to learning it.  

  1. Culture and Community

The first benefit of learning American Sign Language, as with any other language, is the culture.

The deaf community has its own culture. It starts with the language. The rest of society practically shunned signers for not fitting the societal norms. Instead, they took their disability and created a tight-knit community with a rich and resilient history.

By learning American Sign Language, you can connect with 3.5 percent of the United States deaf population. It’s life-changing to have the ability to communicate in a place that uses a unique visual approach to conveying thoughts and ideas.

  1. Careers
Photo by ChurchArt  Online

There are plenty of monetary benefits that do so much good for the deaf community. In your ASL journey, you can make your professional and personal life to serve the deaf community. 

Careers in American Sign Language range into so many different fields. Here are a few to consider:

  • An ASL interpreter is the most recognized as far as careers go. Interpreters take spoken language and turn it into sign language. These jobs can range from working in an educational institution, corporate, board meetings, the government, televised events, and much more.
  • Pathologists or Sign Language Pathologists (SLP) are top-tier experts in American Sign Language. A typical speech pathologist helps and corrects people with speech disorders. Sign Language Pathologists do the same thing, except they teach patients and students an alternative way to communicate using sign language. 
  • If a career in education sounds ideal to you, being an ASL teacher or even an aide could be your dream career. American Sign Language is recognized in 35 states, and many school systems plus universities offer it as a foreign language course. Becoming fluent in American Sign Language can give you this fulfilling career that allows deaf students the same opportunities as everyone else.
  • Those more into the business world should consider a job as an ASL consultant. It isn’t merely about the world of Fortune 500 companies. It’s about helping entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough starting a business, but imagine it being in a world that isn’t as big on non-verbal language. As a consultant, you can be the powerhouse behind communication within a business and help the operation run smoothly. 

That is a non-exhaustive list of opportunities for ASL speakers. There are other opportunities in healthcare, tourism, and law enforcement that you probably have never thought about. 

  1. Spatial Reasoning

Have you ever played the game Tetris? If you have never heard of this game, you see 3D shapes and have to quickly find a way to make them fit into a pattern. That is one way that your brain uses spatial reasoning.

Spatial reasoning is used primarily in math, science, and occasionally in art. Learning American Sign Language can help improve spatial reasoning. That is because Sign Language doesn’t use words to convey where something is, such as left, right, in, or under. That gives Sign Language learners a strong advantage because they already have strong visual skills, which helps their brain process spatial things faster. 

  1. Cognitive Affects 

Cognitive development is crucial at a young age. It helps the brain process information, how perceive ideas, conceptual skills, and language learning. It is already a known fact that being bilingual has so many benefits for the brain.

Learning American Sign Language boosts problem-solving skills and helps the brain think creatively and abstractly. These skills can help learners throughout their life professionally and academically. 

  1. American Sign Language is Gaining Popularity

Most people learn a language because it’s popular. That’s why students in the United States choose French or Spanish in school. American Sign Language is making its way up there. 

Sign Language is the 3rd most used language in the United States besides English and Spanish! That should give anyone enough of a reason to take a ride on the learning journey. 

  1. Body Language

Sometimes, we can’t rely on words to fully explain a concept. Body language is important to understand in spoken and Sign Language. 

Sign Language is entirely based on bodily movements to express feelings and ideas. In a study by UC Davis and Irvine, professors tested participants deaf vs. non-signers to watch a video and see who had the shortest reaction time to body language. Of course, it was the deaf participants who could read body language easier. 

Learning Sign Language has scientific and monetary benefits, but it isn’t just about that. Being proficient in American Sign Language connects you with the deaf community and helps you empathize with the daily struggles. By understanding the barriers and setbacks of day-to-day life, you could be that one person to make their lives a bit easier. 

For those who are looking for additional support, Unspoken Language Services offers interpreting services to help bridge the communication gap between the deaf and hearing communities.