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American Sign Language Facts

 

Did you know that American Sign Language is now the number 3 most used language in the United States?  English and Spanish being the first and second.

Since American Sign Language, also known as ASL, is based on the idea that sight is the most useful tool a deaf person has to communicate and receive information, it combines the use of hand shapes, position and movement; body movements, gestures and facial expressions and visual cues to create and form words and sentences.

It has been around for over 200 years. 

 The estimated number of people just in the United States who use ASL as their primary language is about 500,000 - 2 million!

 No form of sign language is universal.

 A French teacher named Laurent Clerc, brought to the United States by Thomas Gallaudet, founded the first school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817.

 Nine out of every ten children who are born deaf are born to parents who hear. 

 People who use ASL have shown ability to process visual mental images differently than hearing users of English.  Though English speakers possess the skills needed to process visual imagery, ASL users demonstrate faster processing ability--suggesting that sign language enhances certain processing functions of the human brain.

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