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Knowing a second language is an incredible skill to possess. Whether you are able to use it every day or not, having this skill at the ready could prove invaluable down the line.

It may seem like a challenge, but American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the most valuable languages to learn, as it is one of the fastest growing in terms of usage in the US, and is an expertise you can be extremely proud of.

Where ASL Began
Though sign language in various forms has been used since the beginning of human history, the use of American Sign Language began during the nineteenth century in Connecticut, at the American School for the Deaf. It has grown immensely in popularity since that time, with an estimated 500,000 individuals using the language in the US and parts of Canada.

Popularity in the Deaf Community
The teaching of nonverbal language was once controversial; however, according to the National Association for the Deaf, the preservation of ASL as a recognized language is not only important but also essential to the proper cognitive, social, academic, and emotional development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Why learn ASL?
It will take a lot of time and practice, but learning ASL is incredibly beneficial. The language has its own set of grammatical and syntax rules, and it’s not limited to hand movement, but includes movement of other parts of the body and visual signals.

Much like English isn’t a universally accepted language, neither is ASL. In fact, there are even versions of sign language that differ based on region.

Printable ASL Alphabet Guide