|In May of 1888, Anne Sullivan brought Helen Keller to Perkins School for the Blind, where a new world of friendship began.|
A staggering number of people in the Deaf community have heard about Helen Keller, but very few of us know about the extraordinary life of this woman. But in fact, Helen Keller isn’t just so famous in the Deaf community, Helen Adams Keller is a world icon. Her incredible spirit will continue to live in the lives of all of us - particularly people who care about the well-being of others, people who have compassion and empathy for other people that deserve justice and a better life.
I would tell you before I begin: Helen Adams Keller was a Deaf-blind American woman. She was a prolific author, educator, activist, writer, speaker, and Deaf advocate. Helen Keller overcame the greatest adversity of being blind and Deaf to become one of the 20th century's leading humanitarians, as well as humanists who genuinely cared about the life of less-than-perfect people. Helen Keller was a tremendous woman with disabilities. But she made the world better.
On June 27, 1880, Helen Adams Keller came into the world with grossly normal organs. Helen Keller was born with the facility to see objects ad persons and hear sounds and speech. Keller was born with her senses of sight and hearing and had begun to speak when she was just six months old. She started walking at the age of 1. So, Ms. Keller was just like a healthy child, but with perhaps some high ability characteristics, before a life-changing event would dramatically change the course of her life.
LOSS OF SIGHT AND HEARING
In 1882, when Keller was just 19 months old, however, she contracted an illness which at the time had no name or recognition. Called "brain fever" by the family Doctor because apparently, the condition produced a pretty high body temperature, within a few days after the fever occurred, Keller's mom noticed that her daughter didn't show any reaction when the dinner bell rang, or when a hand waved in front of her face. So Keller had ceased to hear and see.
At just 19 months old, Keller had lost both her sight and hearing. That event devastated the family a great deal, but it was the beginning of a lifetime of greatness. With inabilities to speak, hear and see, Keller, together with her friends had to develop a limited method of communication, they had created a type of sign language, and by the time Keller was 7, they had made up over 60 signs to communicate with each other but Keller had grown very wild and rowdy during this time. Helen Keller would kick and scream every time she was angry or when she could not get what she wanted. The disabilities of Keller were causing some behavioral issues for the child, but she would also giggle uncontrollably when she was happy. She tormented her friend, Martha and drove her parents crazy. Many family relatives thought Helen should place in a mental institution.
EDUCATOR ANNE SULLIVAN
Looking for answers and inspiration, Keller’s mom looked around for professional assistance and eventually made a trip to Maryland in the United States to see a specialist. The specialist looked at the Deafblind young woman and immediately recommended that she see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Graham Bell was working with Deaf children at the time. After a series of meetings with other specialists and special schools on the advice of Graham Bell, it suggested that Helen work with one of the institute's most recent graduates, Anne Sullivan. And so began a 49-year relationship between teacher and pupil. The relationship with the Ann Sullivan changed the destiny of Helen Keller forever.
With a present in her hand, Teacher Sullivan got to Keller's house in March 1887 and instantly started to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, starting with "D-O-L-L" for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present.
But at first, the young woman was frustrated, because she had no idea that every object had a name that identified it. For example, Helen Keller did not understand that there was a word for bird, doll, kite, tin, and book. She did not understand that there was a name for everything that was available. Soon, she did understand what Teacher Sullivan was trying to teach her.
Everything became pretty clear to Helen Keller when, one day during training, as water was running over her right hand, her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, showing the idea of "WATER." Now curious Helen Keller would begin to drive her teacher hard by demanding to know the names of all the other names of the objects around her then, the life of Helen Keller changed forever. Prepare to see the final word on Helen Keller, the inspiring deafblind who changed the world forever.
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