The American Sign Language also known as ASL, is recognized as an international language like any other foreign language. A child that communicates with English as well as with sign language is considered bilingual. By communicating with both languages, it will allow the child’s brain to process information from both sides of the brain.
There are a variety of benefits of educating a child with sign language and many has proven to benefit them in their later years.
Ability to Communicate
During the early months of a child, communication is essential to understand the needs of each child. By learning sign language, it provides a means to express themselves accurately which reduces frustration at the same time. Communicating vital information to an adult using sign language can allow parents to understand whether a child is hurt or hungry. Basic signs can result in effective communication such as “eat”, “sleep” and “milk”, which in turn provides the ability to communicate even before learning how to speak. It is also believed that sign language advances speech development in the later years of a child life.
Infants who are educated with sign language can have the potential of increasing their overall self-esteem and confidence as the frustration to communicate ineffectively will not occur as often. During an emergency or when a child is in shock to speak clearly, sign language can be a lifesaver to express what they need. Language and reasoning skills will also have a significant impact on a child’s development if an infant is exposed to sign language at an early age. While other kids without the knowledge of signing and are still crying to obtain their needs, a child who knows how to communicate effectively with signed words and phrases will boost their overall confidence.
Enhanced Cognitive Development
Learning sign language at an early age not only aids in language and speech development but also enhances the overall cognitive development as well. Bilingualism of any languages is a great booster for brain development. Studies have also shown that infants who have learned sign languages have a larger vocabulary than those who did not. By utilizing the brain to work on sign languages at an early age, it will lead to creative thinking, problem-solving skills, better listening skills and have the potential of achieving greater academic results in later life. This will in turn promote literacy, social behavior, and several other intellectual benefits in future.
Visual and Attention Skills
Due to the nature of sign language as a visual expression, having constant sign practices will result in improved visual and attention skills. These are skills that contribute to both social and learning interactions with the caregivers and other kids.
Educating your child with American Sign Language at an early stage provides not only improved overall development but can be fun and exciting as well. Attempts to communicate with an adult through sign language can increase a bond between a parent and a child, as well as create a unique learning experience for the family.>