Why learn American Sign Language (ASL)? Language is our connection to our community and to the world. Through language, we identify the world around us, express our concerns and dreams, and share our experiences and ideas.
The ability to communicate in ASL increases the opportunities to interact with deaf people and to understand their culture. In addition to the practical application of communication skills, the benefits derived from the study of a visual-gestural language, like ASL, are many and contribute to the attainment of the Regents Goals for elementary and secondary education. It is evident that the study of ASL:
- Fosters a sense of humanity and friendship;
- Provides insights in to the human mind and language itself;
- Helps students to increase their sensitivity to the Deaf culture, its values, customs, and traditions and increase their understanding of ASL;
- Leads students to discover and examine their own cultural values;
- Is an asset to many careers and to professional advancement.
The successful use of ASL requires maximum utilization of eyes, hands, facial, and body postures for transmitting and receiving grammatical information.