When most people think of communication, they immediately recall words, speech, phrases, phone calls. But sign language is entirely visual; there is no spoken element of it. Pamela Weisman makes a really interesting point in her TEDtalk by saying “If you aren’t looking at the person you’re signing with, there’s no communication. Every second you look away you’re missing important aspects of your conversation, this makes communication more intimate and deeper connections are made. To the hearing, communication has become this thing we hardly even think about anymore.”

One of the first things that drew me to sign language was the visual component of it. In our modern world where many conversations happen with the barrier of a screen, I wanted to understand ASL in terms of total communication. If we all had to communicate using sign language, every hearing person would have to put down his or her iPhones and laptops while having a conversation. And while this would be a challenge for many people in today’s society, I would love to see communication like that.

As Weisman said, sign language allows for deeper more meaningful connections because it demands more attention and thought. Recognizing this aspect of sign language, can be helpful in improving all modes of communication. If we all realized the attentiveness and care that goes into sign language, we could apply that to spoken conversations and develop even better communication skills, even in a hearing community.