If you are currently training to be a counselor or have already completed your degree and have a steady stream of clients, you may be considering taking a sing language course. Learning sign language can help you assist a broad range of clients, not only deaf and hard of hearing clients, but also clients who are non-verbal for other reasons. You will also gain many other benefits than a larger client base and being able to help more people.
Increase Your Self Confidence
When you learn sign language, you take the time to master a new skill, which can help increase your confidence. By starting to study a language that you do not know, allowing yourself to make mistakes, and eventually succeeding to express yourself and understand others, you will gain confidence in your ability to learn new things and complete difficult tasks. This can make you feel more comfortable during counseling sessions, especially if you are a new counselor.
Assess Your Current Language Use
Sign languages, like spoken languages, have their own syntax and patterns. When you learn American Sign Language, you may find that the language uses fewer words to express complex ideas and can often be clearer and more to-the-point than spoken languages. This can help you develop the habit of questioning your word choice when you speak and help you to learn to speak more efficiently and to learn to listen to what people are trying to say rather than the words they are actually using. This increased self-awareness and better understanding on language in general can help you communicate better with all of your clients, not just your deaf and hard of hearing clients.
You Can Increase Your Awareness of Body Language
Learning sign languages trains you to use your eyes to interpret language instead of relying solely on your ears. After you grow accustomed to communicating visually, you will be more likely to pick up subtle changes in posture and other forms of body language that can be helpful during your counseling sessions with hearing, deaf, and hard of hearing clients.
While learning sign language is a great way to reach deaf, hard of hearing, or non-verbal clients, it also has many personal benefits that can increase your effectiveness as a counselor in other situations. For that reason, you should consider lessons even if you do not focus on providing services to deaf or hard of hearing clients. To learn more, contact a company like Professional Sign Language Interpreting Inc.