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How To Learn Sign Language

The Teaching Corner (Ep. 39) – Sign Language

Hi and welcome to the Teaching Corner.
Today I want to talk to you about sign language and why I think everybody
should learn how to sign. You might say, “I don’t know any deaf people why should I
learn to sign?” Well this video is going to help you with that. So the first
reason I think everybody should learn how to sign is because all of us will at
some point get older. If you’re like me we’re with the disabled community calls
a TAB or a temporarily able-bodied person. At some point all of us in our
life are going to experience some form of vision loss, some form of hearing loss,
or presbycusis hearing loss due to old age, and possibly mobility issues. Of
course all of us know grandparents or great-grandparents that need glasses and
hearing aids and walkers. So if we all learn sign language it would be
easier for us to communicate. I want to tell you a really cute story about this
adorable older couple that I saw in the grocery store several years ago. They
came in and the husband obviously had experienced some hearing loss. He had
around his neck a little notebook with a pencil stuck through it, and this was
before the age of iPhones, so there wasn’t a way to text each other with
this information, but she came in and you know said, “We need bananas”, and he
looked at her and said, “What?” and she said, “We need bananas!” “What?” “BANANAS!”and at this point she
is yelling at this little man and he pulls out his little you know pad and
paper like, “would you please write it down?” and I’m thinking in my head yeah if
she just knew the sign for bananas that would have solved all of those
communication problems. So I do think because all of us are going to get older
and all of us are going to experience some form of hearing loss that if we all
learn sign language it would make our elderly years much, much easier. I also
think there are situations in life where sign language makes communicating much
easier. My husband was a bass trombone performance major and so
he performed a lot on stage. Recently he was filming a play that my son was in,
well both my sons were in, and so he was sitting way up in the balcony and in
both of those situations I could just sign to him and ask him about what was
going on, or where he wanted to meet, or what he wanted to do afterwards or
whatever. It was just easy to sign with him even though he was really far away I
didn’t have to yell. Of course, cell phones at that point are turned off
because you’re about to be in a performance or they’re not even on your
person because you’ve left them backstage or whatever. So it’s just there
are certain times like even in a big crowd if you’re with lots and lots of
people that signing makes it easier instead of trying to yell things like
that. And then the third reason I think we should all learn to sign is if you
have young children, plan on having young children, or work with young children
sign language has been shown to lessen frustration and to help them communicate
earlier. If you think about how quickly a child gets their pincher grasp and
they’re putting their little Cheerios in their mouth, at the age of one a child is
only expected to say one word. My boys were both signing about fifty signs at
the age of one. They knew a few more words than just one word but only about
ten but they were signing like 50 words. So it lessens that frustration. It helps
you communicate and the fourth reason I think we should all learn to sign: it’s a
beautiful language. It has its own grammar and syntax. It’s a beautiful
language. It actually helps you when you travel internationally because a lot of
times there’s signs that are more understandable than trying to get an
idea across in with an English word because a lot of signs are pretty
obvious, but I think it’s just a beautiful language and a wonderful way
to learn a second language and help people communicate. But the fifth reason
I think we should all learn sign language is
we need to make this world a more accessible place. Like I said, all of us,
if you are completely able-bodied you’re a TAB. You’re only temporarily
able-bodied. At some point we’re all going to experience something, but maybe
we know family members or things you know who struggle and just need sign
language in order to communicate. There’s lots of people who are not Deaf and
hard-of-hearing that actually use sign language to communicate. I once had a
student who had a trach and she had perfectly good hearing but she wasn’t
able to speak because of her trach and so she signed. So I just think it would
make the world a more accessible place for Deaf people and for people with all
varying degrees of difference, and I think it’s such a beautiful language
that we should all learn it. So I hope this was helpful. If it was please like,
share, and subscribe and I’ll see you later!

One Reply to “The Teaching Corner (Ep. 39) – Sign Language”

  • I had a deaf person come to my register today and really wished I remembered some of my sign language. It had been so long since I used any of it, I had forgotten most of what I knew. I need to relearn it. It would have been so nice if I could communicate with this gentleman.

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