For many years, many people have debated on whether sign language should be taught in school. Some may say that learning sign language is a waste of time and energy for some students. If they don’t know anyone in their lives that uses sign language, they won’t be able to apply what they learned anyway.
On the other hand, learning sign language promotes bilingualism, which is proven by science to have cognitive benefits. It’s also likely that someone will meet a person who uses sign language in one way or another.
If you’re on the fence about learning sign language, the best course of action to take is to give in and start learning. Even though you don’t know anyone who uses sign language, learning it has many useful benefits.
Accessibility for People with Hearing Impairment
The pandemic has made things more difficult for deaf people. For instance, some of them read other people’s lips to figure out what they’re saying. Thus, the mask mandate during the pandemic makes things more difficult for the deaf. They might also struggle in online video meetings and online classes since these aren’t designed for deaf people.
Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 Americans use American Sign Language (ASL). Even if no one in your social circle uses sign language, there’s a high probability that you’ll meet someone who does. For example, you took a closet storage franchise opportunity and opened your own business. Some of your customers might have hearing impairment. If you know ASL, you’ll be able to communicate with them and make your services accessible to them, thus expanding your customer base.
More people need to learn sign language. It’s one of the things they can do to improve accessibility of people with hearing impairment to things around them.
Good for the Brain
Knowing more than one language comes with brain benefits. Learning sign language will help you improve your cognitive functions. For example, communicating using sign language requires great focus to properly “read” what another person is saying. Thus, you’ll improve your ability to concentrate, which will be helpful in other areas of your life (e.g., work and school). You also sharpen your memory and improve your critical thinking skills.
This endeavor can also improve your mental health. Learning a new language delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sign language relies on the use of hands to communicate with others. And the consistent practice of using sign language can strengthen the muscles in your hands and, as a result, improve your manual dexterity.
Manual dexterity is highly valued in certain professions. For example, surgeons must have great control of their hands to perform procedures and surgeries on their patients properly.
So if you plan to pursue a profession that requires good control of your hands, learning sign language will be helpful to you. But even if you don’t, good dexterity is still important when performing mundane tasks, such as writing, exercising, and so on.
Empathy is one of the most important traits you need to have. Empathy refers to the ability to see things from another person’s point of view and emotionally understand others. It’s important in building relationships. For example, while on a meeting at work, this skill will help you read into the situation and appropriately respond to the person you’re talking to.
Learning sign language can help you build empathy. With this new language, you can put yourself in the shoes of people with hearing impairment. Sure, you won’t fully understand the struggles they face every day. But at the very least, you will get a peek of what it’s like to live in a not-so-deaf-friendly society.
Better Self-image and Self-esteem
Learning more than one language can help you improve how you see yourself and how others see you.
Sign language is a skill that not everybody possesses. So if you know sign language, you’ll see yourself in a more positive light because you can do something that people in your social circle can’t. When you help others using sign language, you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll also find that this skill gives you a competitive advantage above others when applying for a job.
Having this skill can also make others see you more positively. Though you don’t seek to be admired, it’s nice to feel appreciated by others because you can use sign language.
Learning sign language might seem futile right now if you don’t know anyone who uses it. But it is still worthwhile because of its practical benefits.