Should Students Learn ASL?

Illustration+by+Angelica+Gonzalez

Illustration by Angelica Gonzalez

Angelica Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Many have heard of the term, but what exactly is ASL? ASL stands for American Sign Language, and it’s a visual way to communicate using numerous hand movements, gestures and facial expressions. ASL is also commonly used in countries including the United States and Anglophone Canada. 

Learning ASL is extremely important in our society. And well unfortunately in such a small school such as ours, only Spanish is offered as a foreign language class. Although, you can take ASL classes at community colleges as part of the dual enrollment program, which Mr. Viveros is a good contact if you’re interested in the program. Wouldn’t it be fun to learn how to communicate with those who use sign language? Learning ASL also promotes more awareness of those who are deaf, hard of hearing, mute, non verbal, and others with special needs such as those who are autistic. By learning, understanding, and accepting the language, you can help those who communicate with sign language feel accepted in a world filled with sound all over. 

The majority of the students don’t know ASL and the students who do may feel left out of a lot of things because of the language barrier. It may also be difficult for them to go about their day because they might be often ignored or pushed away just because they are different. Regular classes that use verbal communication may not be an option due to the fact they can only communicate through sign. We should take that into consideration because if we couldn’t communicate with others or they couldn’t understand us we would be sad and frustrated too. Sure they can write what they want to say on a piece of paper, but in the long game it isn’t exactly practical to communicate that way.

            Learning ASL can be difficult, but you can learn the basics. Such as the alphabet or signs using one hand. You can search up tutorials on youtube or on websites to start your learning journey. It may take up to two to three years to become fluent and that is with the help of an actual professional. But for now, try learning some of the simple signs just in case you find yourself having to communicate with someone who uses ASL. 

Learning ASL can also be very beneficial for future careers. Professionals in public and private agencies and educational settings find that knowing ASL makes jobs easier. These include therapists, specialists, health care workers, law enforcement, consultants, and emergency response workers. Yes in those jobs people may speak different languages but you can always search up what they are saying but when it comes down to those that use ASL, googling hand motions may not work so easily.

            American Sign language is used by over 500,00 Americans of all ages, and there are roughly 330 million people in America. 

Those numbers aren’t even close to each other. Imagine all who struggle to communicate with others–It’s not fair. Students should help those who use ASL and help accept their language and learn it so all that use it feel accepted. No one should ever feel excluded from living a normal life just because they communicate in a different way. It is our job as students to help all those in need and help benefit ourselves in more ways than one.