You may never have had a desire to learn sign language. I hope that in the next few minutes I can show you why it would be a great feather in your cap.
#1: Hearing Loss is Common
Hearing loss is much more common than you think. There are approximately one million deaf people living in the United States alone.
Elegance and charms means that you show a deep respect for all people. Gentility is an inclusive behavior and people should not be made to feel left out because you are unable to enter even basic communication with them.
#2: Lip Reading is Unreliable
A lot of people think that they don’t need to learn to communicate through sign language. They mistakenly believe that the deaf or hearing impaired can simply read their lips.
On average only 30% of spoken words is picked up by lip-reading. The person then has to try to guess what the conversation is about. This leads to a great chance of misinterpretation.
#3: It’s Easy to Learn
A lot of sign language is simple body language that we are already familiar with and use in our day-to-day lives.
At the very least, you should be learning the alphabet so that you can spell out words, if necessary. This is much better than just standing there like an ignorant buffoon.
#4: It Will Help Your Career
Being able to include Sign Language as one of your skills on your resume can enhance your career prospects.
#5: It Will Help You Stay Smart
Sign Language requires use and awareness of your eyes, your hands, your face, and your body. This is great news for the development of your brain, particularly cognitive skills.
#6: Better Communication with Speaking People
Even in conversation with hearing people, will; still use a lot of sign language and body language. Learning sign language makes us more observant of the subtler forms of communication with all of the people which we communicate.
#7: Experience Deaf Culture
Like people of different languages, the deaf also have a strong culture of their own. They have their own stories, art, and even music. All of the diversity in this world can be explored.
My father had a deaf friend when he was a child. Their friendship led him to learn sign language. He learned the English sign language, not American Sign Language.
Many years later, my Dad went on to teach it to my Mom and their children. I have fond memories of singing the alphabet with our hands at ever increasing speeds to the amazement of family and friends.
Sign language was used a lot by my mother, who would use it to correct me in public if I was sitting inappropriately or had said something tactlessly.
My mother’s education in sign language continued when she found herself living next to a deaf lady whose own family had not bothered to learn to communicate with her.
Like my story, most stories of learning sign language have a basis in kindness, friendship, and love.
How to Learn Sign Language
There are reported to be over three hundred different forms of sign language in the world at the moment. You need to find the language which is applicable to your experiences, culture, language, family, and requirements.
American Sign Language (ASL) is the most recognized form of sign language in the world.
To learn basic sign language, I use Sign Language 101, and I study one lesson per week, which is provided on video by Dr Byron Bridges, at no cost. Some weeks I have to watch the video a few times during the week to pick up some of the more difficult signs.
There is nothing tedious about learning sign language. It’s fun!
As with all things, “Use it or lose it”. To ensure that you retain this knowledge you will need to have someone with which to practice. There are deaf language groups in most communities that you will be welcome to attend. Even using sign language playfully in your home with parents, partners, friends, and family will keep the knowledge in the forefront of your mind.
Learning sign language is something that will reward you over and over again throughout your life, as well as making you a more compassionate communicator.
Do you have a story on why you want to learn sign language?
I’d love to hear your story