Everyone wishes that they could speak a new language – but not many people consider sign language. However, sign language opens up a whole new world to you in terms of social circles and your ability to communicate across the globe. Sign language looks beautiful, it is expressive and above all – very inclusive. Of course, many deaf people have the use of top-class experts providing people with fitted hearing aids, but sign language gives an extra layer to that communication.
It is a lot more common than you think. It is now very common that parents are using sign language to communicate with babies before they can talk properly – and that is something pretty special. In America, it is estimated that there are 28 million people who have some degree of hearing loss. Although many rely on a mixture of lip-reading and some sound recognition, not all speak sign language. However, to really participate in mainstream education and the job market it pays to learn to lip read and have sign language too.
If you can speak an additional language, you are already more desirable. If you can speak sign language? You are opening up a whole new market for many businesses. Aside from the business realm, you can work as an interpreter, or help teach children as a TA or teacher (you’ll need other qualifications too though). Some career options are an audiologist, interpreters, social workers, counselors, a hospital worker, and so much more. Sign language is a valuable skill to have when it comes to the job market.
If you don’t want to make sign language the star of your career show, then you can volunteer in many areas. Typically sign language volunteers will be able to work in the theater, churches, schools, homeless shelters, and some cases foster centers and animal shelters. If you are in the middle of learning sign language, you can use volunteering as a way to practice and hone your skills, and mix with other users to get the most out of the experience.
Help The Hearing
This might sound strange, but you can improve the rate at which a child learns to read and speak by teaching them sign language at the same time. Simple signs will help differentiate between letter sounds and words as they go. A typical example is many children say “elemenope” rather than L M N O P for years. If a child can see early on that they are in fact, not as one, they will be able to build on that knowledge.
Sign language is a lot of fun for your children to learn, so much so that many younger classes now learn to sign and sing at the same time.
Learning sign language is as beneficial as learning any other foreign language – except it potentially has more positive in terms of social impact and the ability to improve the lives of others by doing so. Like anything else, it takes time and dedication – but it is a skill you can use for life.