The New York Times published an interesting Q&A today with cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok, about the bilingual advantage. From the article:
Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
I always buy my hearing, parents-to-be friends ASL books for this reason. My first sign was at five months old, and I was singing and talking fluently in ASL and oral English at only eighteen months old! If you want your kids to learn a new language, I recommend ASL and, later, Spanish. Sadly, being so far away from Deaf friends and family, I don't have many opportunities to use ASL and, per Bialystok, "You won’t get the bilingual benefit from occasional use." Rats.
And, even when I use ASL these days I find myself signing English. It's only when I'm visiting Mom, Dad or other relatives & close family friends that I grew up with where I really sink back into ASL. My vocabulary returns to me quicker with them, too. I wonder, as a CODA, is it worth taking ASL classes? Have you or someone you know benefited from them?