Whatever career path you have chosen, knowing American Sign Language (ASL) has to be a plus. In every walk of life there are people with hearing difficulties, and having someone they can sign with, no matter what the situation, can be an enormous help to them.
Why Is American Sign Language Different from Others?
Sign language varies from country to country because it has to suit the spoken language. The sign language used in America, as an example, would not be of much use in France or Germany. This does mean that someone who knows ASL might not understand British Sign Language, (BSL), or vice versa.
Whatever the country, sign language is made up of hand movements, facial expressions and body movements. American Sign Language has been around for over 200 years and although it originally used some signs similar to French Sign Language, these days the two are totally different.
Does It Relate to Spoken American?
Some deaf people can make out some of what is being said by reading the speaker’s lips, but for most people with a hearing impairment, sign language is the best option. It has its own grammar rules, order for pronunciation and ways of asking a question or making a statement. It even has its own regional accents, and of course, every deaf person has their own voice by using sign language.
How Can Knowing ASL Help Your Career?
What you have to remember is that apart from their hearing difficulties, deaf people have all the same issues as everyone else. They still need to see the doctor or visit the dentist, just like the rest of us do. Just as an example, if you have been to one of the Dental Assistant Schools in WV and are working in a dental clinic, you may well have a deaf person come for treatment. Imagine how much more comfortable they will feel if you can explain to them what is happening in ASL.
The same can be said of being a medical assistant, working in an attorney’s office, being a cashier in a local supermarket and any other job you care to think of. When you are putting together your CV for jobs, being able to include ASL as an extra skill has to be in your favor.
There is also the possibility that it is you that has the hearing problem, and then knowing ASL will just make finding a job so much easier. As long as any potential employer is aware of your issues, being hard of hearing should not hold you back in any career. You may have to work a little harder at having your efforts recognized, but generally it is the quality of your work that matters to employers, nothing else.
Who Learns ASL?
Of course, the obvious answer to that is a person with hearing difficulties, but they are not the only ones by any means. Usually, at least some of their family members and friends learn it as well, and just one deaf person could result in 20 plus people learning ASL.
In the US, about 15% of adults have some difficulty with their hearing. That amounts to over 37 million people, although some of those are not totally deaf. Without ASL that would be a lot of people who would have trouble communicating, but once deaf people and their friends and family at least know the basics, life can become much easier to cope with.