The Value of Studying American Sign Language

  • American Sign Language (ASL) is the preferred language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. Recent data indicates that ASL is the fastest growing language in the USA and is estimated to be the fourth most commonly used language on the North American continent. This unique language uses visual-gestural modalities of manual signs, facial expressions, and body signals to convey complex linguistic information as well as rich Deaf traditions of visual poetry, narratives, and theater. ASL studies also provide Deaf cultural insights into the values and outlooks of Deaf people, and social and educational aspects of

    In 2001, the Florida State Legislature passed a law making American Sign Language equal to all foreign language courses. In doing so ASL became a popular option for high school world language graduation requirements. This legislative recognition also established ASL as an admission requirement to any public community college or university in the state of Florida, but more importantly the Florida Bright Futures Scholarships program fully funds ASL an acceptable eligibility option.

    Finally, ASL students gain practical training for entering a range of professions. As social, community, legal and educational services have expanded nationwide; many career possibilities have opened up for those interested in professional work in deaf-related fields. ASL studies provide excellent preparation to students for professional careers as sign language interpreters, sign language instructors, counselors, government specialists, audiologists, speech pathologists, program administrators, community service personnel, and many other related vocations.