• 9 Benefits of Learning American Sign Language in Your Senior Years

    9 Benefits of Learning American Sign Language in Your Senior Years

If you can hear, the benefits of learning American Sign Language (ASL) may not be readily apparent. But there are many benefits for those who can hear. According to Gallaudet University, ASL is the sixth most common language in America

Knowing ASL allows you to build relationships with deaf people, but also to communicate underwater, at a great distance, at a loud concert, or even in udder silence. However, some of the best benefits of knowing sign language are not based on connecting with others, but rather have cognitive advantages.

The Benefits of Learning American Sign Language

Gives You a Cognitive Workout

Learning any new language will stimulate your brain and give you a great cognitive workout. And sign language is no different. 

Learning sign language enhances your cognition which is great for creative thinking, brain function, memory, spatial awareness, and more. 

It’s the Third Most Used Language in America

It’s difficult not to overstate how common ASL is. According to the Modern Language Association, ASL is the third most studied modern/foreign language in the United States. It is preceded only by English and Spanish.

Expands Your Cultural Understanding

Typically, when you study a new language you also study the culture and community of those who speak that language. And ASL is no different. When you study ASL, you also examine the etiquette and community specifics. 

Make New Friends

One of the benefits of learning a new language is that you can communicate with all new people. You can also get to know people in your class. Either way, learning a language is a great way to make new friends.

Improves Peripheral Vision and Reaction Time

According to one study, sign language users experienced better peripheral vision and reaction time. 

Since sign language is so visual, people who practice it become more aware of their visual fields, which can be beneficial to playing sports like golf and even driving. This may also contribute to the idea that deaf people have better vision. 

Talk to Babies

If you have infant grandchildren, it may be a good idea to get them started on sign language early. Infants six months and up can begin to understand the basic signs and demonstrating basic signs to hearing babies can yield communication before they are able to speak. There is also some research done that states learning to sign can enhance an infant’s cognitive development and results in a better bond between parent and child.

Not to mention, learning multiple languages at a young age allows the young brain to make room to learn even more languages.

Get Better at Spelling

Even though most words have a corresponding sign, for those that don’t (or for words you don’t know) you will have to fingerspell. This goes for people’s names, locations, products, and brands. This regular spelling out of words can help you get better at spelling overall.

Helps You Become a Better Listener

When you sign with someone else, there is a lot to pay attention to. From their hands to their facial expressions, signing can be an entire performance. Not only is eye contact important, but you must be physically looking at the signs. By focusing on the person speaking to you in ASL, you may learn to become a better and more patient listener.

Learning Sign Makes it Easier to Learn Other Languages

Learning one language increases your aptitude for learning another. This is thought to be due to the fact that you are regularly using the language part of your brain. 

If you’ve been thinking about learning sign language, what’s stopping you? It’s never too late to learn new things. 

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