There are many benefits to learning American Sign Language (ASL). The other day while attending a Deaf Awareness event, I had the opportunity to meet Mike Schmidt, owner of Old Soul Brewing in Fort Myers, FL . He experienced adult onset hearing loss and recently shared one of his newly discovered benefits to learning ASL:
The other day Schmidt said he had a conversation with someone from 100 feet away. “She was in her car in the parking lot and we just signed back and forth. Hearing people can enjoy that same versatile part of deaf language.” [Public invited to ‘Deaf Life: Get to Know It’ event; September 19, 2019 by Katie Egan, email@example.com, Cape Coral Daily Breeze]
Benefits to Learning ASL
Handspeak.com a website with rich, authentic content on ASL and Deaf Culture offers several benefits to learning ASL:
Growing in Popularity
American Sign Language (ASL) is the 4th most studied modern/foreign language at colleges and universities in the U.S., according to the Modern Language Association’s statistics. Nearly two million people speak ASL in North America.
Bilingualism Boosts Brain
Bilingualism of any languages (whether signed or spoken) is a great booster for brains. It enriches and enhances your cognitive processes: higher abstract and creative thinking, better problem-solving, greater cognitive flexibility, better listening skills, greater academic achievement, and more!
People simply find it fascinating, beautiful, unique, graceful and/or expressive.
Fingerspelling is exactly not a language per se. It is a set of the alphabetical letters corresponding to spoken words.
Appreciating the Literary Arts
Literary arts in sign language is valued for its linguistically creative language play, poetry, and storytelling.
Top 10 Benefits to Learning ASL
- ASL is a complete language as recognized by linguistics in 1986.
- Today many high schools are offering ASL courses to satisfy college admission requirements. https://ncssfl.org/view-state-report/
- ASL is accepted by many universities as a foreign language, meeting course requirements for college graduation. https://www.gettingatthecore.com/2017/09/can-american-sign-language-be-used-for-college-acceptance-and-credit/
- ASL is a foreign language you can use in the United States
- Count to 999 on one hand
- It’s not rude to sign with your mouth full of food
- Sign to someone in another car while sitting in traffic (without a cell phone!)
- Communicate clearly with friends or family in noisy environments
- Signing is quieter than whispering in a church or library
- Meet many new friends!
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