American Sign Language is a form of communication that many use in the United States, whether hearing impaired or not. ASL is expressed by movement of the hands and face. Perhaps you want to teach your children a few phrases in sign language in order to better enhance their communications with others. Introducing children to sign language is a great way to broaden their horizons and teach new ways to interact with and include others.
Sign language can be beneficial whether you are hearing impaired or not. For instance, teaching your child American Sign Language can help children understand how to communicate their thoughts and feelings without words. In fact, parents have recently turned to teaching their babies sign language before they learn how to talk. This allows babies to communicate with them when they want “more” of something, whether they’re “hungry” or “thirsty,” when their bodies are telling them they need something or even “sleep” when they want to go down for a nap. When babies quickly communicate their needs, parents are better able to meet them. Additionally, some teachers have incorporated American Sign Language into their daily classroom routines! Students use ASL in the classroom to notify their teacher if they need to get a drink, get a snack, or go to the bathroom. This simple implementation has allowed for more learning time and less disruptions in the classroom.
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For students, learning ASL may also bring to light the fact that not everyone speaks the same language as they do. Teaching children about our differences allows for future generations to be more inclusive, diverse and understanding. This will allow them to learn empathy for those who may be hearing impaired as well.
I’ve recently learned that American Sign Language is different from another type of sign language, Signed English, in which it attempts to convey concepts rather than word for word sentences. Personally, I know a few phrases in sign language and it is really nice to be able to communicate a quick “hello” to someone who is hearing impaired. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on their face and make their day! It is also nice to be able to communicate with my family members across the table if I am not able to physically talk to them.
While your child doesn’t have to be fluent in sign language, learning how to communicate via ASL even at a basic level can prove to be incredibly beneficial. Providing children with an outlet to express their needs will help empower children to use their minds and voices. Teaching kids ASL will allow them to flourish into compassionate and strong human beings.
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Sophia Burkmyre will be a junior this Fall at Michigan State University where she is studying Marketing and public relations. Sophia likes to go on walks, travel, and spend time with friends and family in her spare time.