While learning American Sign Language (ASL) is crucial for the deaf and their family and friends, it can be valuable even if you can hear. In addition to communicating effectively with those who are hard of hearing, science also suggests that practicing sign language can strengthen literacy and communication skills. Here are three reasons why your child should learn sign language:
Closer family bond
Research shows that families who sign together stay together! When parents teach their babies basic sign language, it can improve parent-child communication and strengthen the parent-child bond. Teaching your toddler how to communicate their basic needs before they can speak, whether they’re hungry or in pain, can alleviate the communication gap and reduce feelings of frustration. Teaching how to sign also increases opportunities for kids and parents to bond through physical touch and eye contact.
Stronger literacy skills
If your preschooler or kindergartener is struggling with learning the alphabet, consider using sign language as a visual cue! When children associate a letter or a word with a sign, they can remember it better.
Additionally, practicing sign language at a young age can help build a strong foundation for literacy. A 10-year study found that students who were taught ASL alongside their regular curriculum had higher reading levels and saw more improvements in vocabulary than kids who weren’t.
Learn a second language
Although it does not use spoken words, ASL will also allow your child to enjoy the many benefits of picking up a second language. Being bilingual can increase memory, help you multitask, and even protect you against Alzheimer’s.
Further, sign language is not only used in the deaf community but also by people with autism, dyslexia, and other learning difficulties. Knowing how to converse with ASL will open doors to significantly more possibilities and allow for more communication with all types of people. It’s a practical skill that all kids, hard of hearing or not, can add to their repertoire!
Not sure where to start? Check out Education.com’s collection of American Sign Language resources to start signing today!