American Sign Language (ASL) is a beautiful and useful language to know. There are many benefits to learning a second language, and ASL is quickly gaining in popularity because it is visual and hands-on! I have used it many times in my adult life to communicate with parents, customers, and friends. It is currently the fourth most popular foreign language taken in college! Basic knowledge of a signed language can be an important tool for firefighters, police officers and other professional civil servants, as well as scuba divers, stock traders, and more. Check out some more of the benefits of American Sign Language:
- Reduces frustration – helps with communication when words are difficult
- Increases self-esteem – students feel successful and helpful
- Enhances language and listening skills – students learn to watch and listen in order to respond
- Enriches relationships – can be fun and exciting to communicate in sign language
- Increases IQ – second language learning activates parts of the brain that are only activated by using a second language
- Facilitates bilingual learners – the sign for “bird” or “turtle” is the same no matter what language you speak!
- Improves spelling – Fingerspelling provides a hands-on, visual way to learn and work on spelling words
- Improves motor skills – signs cross the midline, work on fine motor tasks through fingerspelling, and help develop and activate multiple parts of the brain
- Builds overall communication skills – ASL is an expressive language that requires paying attention to not just what is said but the facial expressions that go with it.
- Builds better vocabulary – since we tend to use our bodies to talk and communicate anyways, sign language builds on that natural tendency and helps to reinforce vocabulary
- Builds skills for students with Dyslexia in reading, spelling and vocabulary because of the visual, kinesthetic approach to the language.