Whether or not you make resolutions or are more of a new year to-do list person like myself, consider adding learning ASL to your list. American Sign Language (ASL) is a rich and expressive language that is used by millions of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States and around the world. Taking an ASL class can be a rewarding and enriching experience for anyone, regardless of their hearing ability. Here are five reasons why you should consider taking an ASL class:

ASL is a beautiful and unique language.

With its own grammar and syntax, as well as its own cultural norms and values, ASL is a language like no other. Learning it can open up a new world of communication and understanding. I greatly enjoyed reading and learning about the deaf community and their unique culture.

ASL can improve your communication skills.

Sign language requires you to use your body, face, and hands to convey meaning, which can improve your overall communication skills. It can also help you develop nonverbal communication skills, such as body language and facial expressions, which are important in any form of communication.

ASL can improve your cognitive abilities.

Learning a new language has been shown to improve cognitive abilities such as memory, concentration, and problem-solving. It can also delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline. Which I’m all about. Keeping up with all these changes in technology is hard enough as it is.

ASL can open up new career opportunities.

In the United States, there is a high demand for qualified ASL interpreters, particularly in the fields of healthcare, education, and social services. Taking an ASL class can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a career as an interpreter or in a related field. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to interpret plays or concerts. Now I know it’s a lot of hard work but something I’m honestly still quite interested in pursuing.

ASL can help you connect with others.

By learning ASL, you can connect with the deaf and hard of hearing community and better understand their experiences. You can also use your new language skills to communicate with friends and family members who use ASL, or to make new connections with people who are interested in the language. Alex and I ran into our completely deaf ASL teacher a few months after our class. We were able to communicate with her and her friend and even helped transport a desk to their apartment. We would have never been able to help them if we hadn’t taken the class.

Overall, there are many compelling reasons to take an ASL class. Whether you’re interested in the language itself, the cognitive benefits, or the potential career opportunities, learning ASL can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Plus it’s fun to sign to Alex across a crowded room and know exactly what each other is saying.