Hand Communication: American Sign Language

American Sign Language is a language with a rich history. In the 1800s, deaf Americans were a minority in a world of sound. Up until the beginnings of ASL, many deaf people improvised their own means of communication. Many experts believe that the earliest form of signed communications originated in France, and modern American Sign Language contains some aspects of French expression. However, a major influence on the language came from a doctor named Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Inspired to assist his neighbor’s deaf daughter, Gallaudet traveled to Europe to study their system. Upon his return, he started the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. From that point on, American Sign Language blossomed.

American Sign Language is specifically for the American deaf community, and many other nations around the world have their own sign languages as well. There is no such thing as one international sign language because of natural linguistic differences, but there have been some international efforts to create a standardized global sign language so communications abroad can be easier.

The demand for learning American Sign Language is constantly growing, and there are many resources available for the curious minds to learn and become fluent. In the days before the Internet, most people had to pay money to sit in a classroom and study extensively, but now, learning ASL is accessible through the Internet and mobile apps. Technology has not only improved our ability to communicate in print, but it has also brought new tools to help people communicate through sign language.

Learning American Sign Language isn’t just beneficial for those who are deaf or who have deaf loved ones. Using sign language with babies can help these young children better communicate at a time when they haven’t yet developed the ability to form coherent speech. Strengthening a child’s communication abilities from the start can set them up for success as they grow. There are many online resources to help parents learn basic signs and teach them to their children. Alongside this learning comes bonding with the child and the strengthening of their emotional security.

American Sign Language can have multiple benefits for those seeking new career options, too. Career paths include becoming an interpreter, a speech pathologist, or a teacher. There is a high demand for educators in special education who can use ASL to communicate with their students. Learning American Sign Language can also enhance the skill set of an emergency medical technician, allowing them to communicate more easily with deaf patients.

History of American Sign Language

Global Use of Sign Language

Learning ASL Online

Teaching Babies and Children Sign Language

Career Paths With American Sign Language