Friday, 18 October 2013

Helen Keller - A Summary Of Her Life

By Sara Rothberg
Helen Keller is, in my opinion, one of the most amazing people of all time. I take that back. I consider her teacher equally amazing. Her patience and persistence are to be admired but as this project is about her student, I will not go into details.
Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 on a farm in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When Helen was a year and a half old she became very sick. Her parents were afraid that she would die. She didn't die but deaf and blind, she was left in a world with no light or sound.
As a child Helen was often became frustrated that no one understood what she wanted. As a result she would become extremely violent. Her parents did not know how to control her and they let her get away with anything. Like at mealtimes, she would stick her hands into other peoples food and throw it across the room.
Helen's parents were extremely worried but they had never heard of a case like Helen's and did not know what to do. Fortunately, they learned about Annie Sullivan, a teacher of the blind, who came to teach and live with seven-year-old Helen. Annie had to teach Helen basic things like how to eat with a knife and fork and how to brush her hair. At first Helen didn't cooperate. She hit and bit her teacher.
Helen made great progress but it wasn't enough for Annie. She wanted her to understand words so she took sign language to a different level. Annie Sullivan would sign a letter and then Helen would feel the shape of her hands. At first Helen thought it was a game. She didn't understand why her teacher would make her touch an object and make shapes with her hands.
One day Ms. Sullivan took her out to pump water. She held Helen's hands under the water and spelled the word into her hands many times. Suddenly her eyes lit up! She understood! That day she learnt many new words. From then on Helen became a bright student, eager to learn. She stopped hitting people and became friendly again.
Helen was doing so well that shortly before her eighth birthday, her teacher took her to the Perkins Institution for the blind. There she learned to read and write in Braille. Now a whole new world was open to her. She could read books and write letters.
When Helen was ten, she met a teacher who wanted to teach her to speak. Until then Helen's only way to communicate was through her teacher. It took long, hard hours of practice but in the end she could speak!To top that off, she learned to lip-read by placing her hand gently over a person's lips as they spoke.
Life was working out for Helen but soon the ambitious fourteen-year-old had a new goal; to go to college! For three years she worked very hard to prepare for college. Her tests were even copied into Braille for her. Helen was accepted to Radcliffe College and graduated with honors.
When she was twenty two someone approached her with the idea of writing a book about her life. She agreed and now you can read about Helen's early life in her autobiography called "The Story of My Life".

As Helen Keller got older she began to travel around the world giving speeches. People came from afar to listen to this astonishing woman. During her life she met many famous people.
Like any other person Helen had her hobbies. She liked to go horseback riding and to work in her garden.
Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968- a few weeks before her eighty-eighth birthday. Her story has been told many times and has inspired many people. There have been movies about her and there is even a stamp made for her.

Helen Keller should inspire all of us to remember that nothing is impossible!

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