Communication is one of the greatest tools in an evangelists’ arsenal. Language barriers, if not a brick wall, are at the very least a curtain that makes communication difficult. Whether you are trying to share the Gospel, teach a new skill, or just connect, knowing another language can open doors.
So here at Seeking Life Squared, we have Foreign Language Friday. Every Friday I will post a vocabulary word or language study from one of the languages I am learning. Currently I am working on Spanish, American Sign Language, and Hebrew.
So without further delay, here is today’s piece of info-
Bill Vicars is a great ASL teacher and I highly recommend his material. You can access more materials at his website, ASLU, at Lifeprint.com.
Why learn Sign Language?
American Sign Language is the primarily used sign language used in America and is popular all over the world. And it’s not just for the Deaf community. Benefits of learning a signed language include-
- Increased motor and cognitive skills, in children and adults.
- Babies and toddlers who are exposed to sign language show increased test scores later in life and usually start speaking earlier than those who only are exposed to spoken languages.
- Ability to communicate with the Deaf Community
- Ability to communicate when you cannot speak; for example, when scuba-diving, eating, in a movie theater or concert, or when silence is necessary.
- It is truly a beautiful language. When signing, you use your entire body and facial gestures to communicate. It is highly engaging and entertaining.
- It’s just plain fun to learn.
Sign language is great to learn even for families who are not Deaf or HoH(Hard of Hearing).
Take, for example, a four-year-old named Charlie. Charlie has mild autism and has difficulty speaking to family members and caregivers. Adding ASL to his life will enable him to communicate basic needs and thoughts without adding the stress of speaking. He could say he needs to go to the bathroom, he lost his teddy bear, or he’s thirsty without ever needing to say a word. For a family trying to minimize stress and over-stimulation, ASL can greatly minimize tantrums and meltdowns.
Another example would be thirteen-year-old Jenna, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. As a result of her delayed motor skills, she has has trouble enunciating words in a way that others can understand. Using ASL, she can share all her thoughts and needs without the frustration of speaking.
American Sign Language is a great language for all ages and levels of ability to learn. I have been studying it off and on for several years and encourage others to do the same. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, either. Even a couple hours a week will get you a good start. Bill Vicar’s ASLU is a great resource, as is YouTube.
Have a great Friday! I hope you enjoyed your Foreign Language lesson!