Sign Language Benefits for Hearing Children

Over the past several decades there has been an amazing amount of research into sign language and its influence on the development on young children.

Today it is easy to search “sign language and children” on any search engine and find hundreds of research white papers extolling the virtues of teaching children how to talk with their hands.

I appreciate this research and the fact that I have seen all of these benefits occur with those that I have taught over the years.

From the research that I’ve found, I’ve listed the top benefits of Sign Language. I know some of these will surprise you!


  1. Learning a new language develops self-confidence and empowerment
  2. Up to two million people speak ASL in North America alone — the 3rd most studied language in the U.S. after Spanish and English.
  3. Sign Language raises self-esteem as a new skill learned
  4. Sign Language allows communication development
  5. Develops better eye-hand coordination
  6. There is heightened cerebral activity when signing
  7. Expressing needs and feelings lowers frustration
  8. Learning together develops Parent-Child bonding
  9. Infants can express their needs before they can verbalize them
  10. Higher scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
  11. Develops phonemic awareness, the ABCs, vocabulary, and spelling skills
  12. Finger spelling develops the small muscles necessary for writing
  13. Encourages the child to share school experience at home
  14. Builds community through shared language experiences
  15. Provides a constructive physical outlet for the kinesthetic learner
  16. Combines “saying and doing” – increasing retention of language and concepts by 90%
  17. Provides a bridge for limited English speaking children in developing a second language
  18. Engages the high-risk learners in building confidence and enthusiasm for learning
  19. Personalizes language and concepts through “total emotional body response”
  20. Can lead to memorable performances for parents and grandparents
  21. Builds comprehension by creating internal images of language
  22. Singing and signing with expression and gesture builds children’s speaking skills
  23. Supports inclusion programs for those who are different than the child
  24. Sign language develops visual skills for reading printed language
  25. Word recognition grows with each sign
  26. Enjoyment in learning experiences from childhood through adulthood
  27. Instruction scores are higher when pre-K children work with signs
  28. It aids learners in bilingual classrooms, multi-lingual classrooms, and inclusion classrooms
  29. Strengthening memorization skills by signing the material
  30. Visual reinforcement for instructions from teachers
  31. Building a bond with others who know or are learning ASL
  32. Appreciation for language diversity
  33. Quiet and effective in management of the classroom and for discipline
  34. When learning two languages at the same time they learn both languages better
  35. Sign language improves student’s math skills
  36. Sign language improves kids’ motor skills
  37. Sign language allows communication with the deaf
  38. Those who were introduced to American Sign Language (ASL) words, such as signs for the weather, colors, numbers, and feelings, did better on vocabulary tests than their peers who weren’t taught to sign
  39. Several studies have shown that using signs, particularly finger spelling, with older children and adults who struggle with reading, including those with dyslexia, is an effective way to help these students gain skills involved in reading
  40. ASL is routinely used in many schools from first grade through fifth grade for social studies, history, music, science, geography and even math. In these settings, it clearly supports content by defining concepts and aiding memory” – Daniels
  41. Bilingualism develops better listening skills – A child with bilingual brain has cognitive benefits over monolingual children
  42. Bilingualism enriches and enhances your cognitive processes
  43. Bilingualism allows higher abstract and creative thinking
  44. Bilingualism help with better problem-solving
  45. Bilingualism creates greater cognitive flexibility
  46. Bilingualism provides greater academic achievement
  47. Bilingualism promotes cultural awareness
  48. Bilingualism promotes literacy
  49. Bimodal, (ASL) expands your visual-perceptual skills
  50. Bimodal, (ASL) expands spatial awareness
  51. Bimodal, (ASL) expands mental rotation skill
  52. Bimodal, (ASL) expands visual sensitivity
  53. Finger spelling helps students learn how to spell a word letter by letter
  54. You can quietly talk in a church, a library, or during a movie, or with your mouth full – or in loud venues – even with animals
  55. Sign Language engages children’s imagination and humor
  56. Develop storytelling abilities
  57. The child will be proud of their accomplishments
  58. Practicing develops learning skills
  59. Sign language is a skill that can be used throughout their lifetime
  60. Parental pride, “See what my child can do!”
  61. Parental fulfillment, “See what I did to help my child”
  62. Teacher fulfillment “See what I taught your child to do”
  63. Parents want their child to have opportunities they did or didn’t have

Go to References…