Early childhood and illness Born in the US in 1880, Helen Keller was struck blind and deaf by a mystery illness at 19 months.
Though she had the basic ability to communicate using hand signals, her life was one of frustration at not being able to understand what was going on around her. She had no way of connecting an object with a word until her instructor, Anne Sullivan, took over her teaching.
Sullivan’s problem was clear. How could she get Keller to understand that each thing in the world had a word signifying it? The breakthrough came in a famous moment when Helen Keller connected the concept “water” that was being spelled on her hand with the water being run on her other hand. After that,she wore Sullivan out asking her for the words for the things around her.
This breakthrough revealed Keller to have a first rate mind, and after attending a series of educational establishments she was admitted in 1900 to Radcliffe College and in 1904, at the age of 24, became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Keller learned to speak and went on to spend much of the rest of her life giving speeches and lectures, as well as becoming a famous author.
Devoted to helping the disadvantaged, she became an influ- ential socialist, an advocate for birth control, a pacifist and suf- fragist, she was a beacon of hope and an inspiration to millions throughout the world afflicted with disabilities.
Helen Keller is synonymous with overcoming disability in order to become a full and active member of the community. She gave a voice to so many like her who would otherwise never have been heard. Bernardo Moya
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
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