The Life Of Helen Keller By: Katie Bridges ete 100-Online Section September 29, 2005 About Helen

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The Life Of Helen Keller

  • By: Katie Bridges
  • ETE 100-Online Section
  • September 29, 2005

About Helen

  • Named Helen Adams Keller
  • Born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama
  • Daughter of Captain Arthur Henley Keller and Kate Adams Keller
  • Was born with full sight and hearing

A Change For The Worse

  • February 1882, when Helen was 19 months old, she fell ill
  • Doctors called it “brain fever” otherwise known today as scarlet fever or meningitis
  • For many days, she was expected to die
  • When the fever went away, her family thought she was in the clear

A Change For The Worse (Cont)

  • Her mother noticed that Helen was not responding to the dinner bell when rung
  • Also, she was responding to her mother’s hand passing in front of her eyes
  • Helen’s illness left her blind and deaf

Help For Helen

  • Helen’s mother took her to a specialist doctor in Baltimore who suggested that they meet with Alexander Graham Bell
  • Alexander Graham Bell was the local expert on the problems of children who are deaf
  • Bell told the Keller family to write Michael Anagnos-director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind

Helen & Alexander Graham Bell

Help For Helen (Cont)

  • The Keller’s asked Anagnos to help find a teacher for Helen
  • He immediately recommended Anne Sullivan who was a former student of the institution

Helen Meets Anne

  • Met for the first time on March 3, 1887
  • Starting teaching Helen immediately
  • She spelled out the word “doll” on Helen’s hand to help her recognize what Anne had brought for Helen
  • Helen could repeat the movements on her hand, but didn’t know what they meant

A Picture of Anne Sullivan

Starting To Make Sense

  • Anne took Helen down a path to a well-house
  • Someone was pumping water and Anne put Helen’s hand under the water
  • Anne immediately spelled out “water” over and over on Helen’s hand
  • Helen make the connection between the word “water” and the flowing liquid

The Learning Never Stops

  • Helen learned the spelling of 30 words within the next few hours after the water
  • Learned to understand what others were saying by touching their lips and throat
  • Helen could not speak due to her vocal chords not being trained prior to being taught how to speak

Helen Reading Lips

  • Helen reading Mrs. Calvin Coolidge’s lips with her hand

Helen Goes To College

  • Helen was the first person who was blind and deaf to ever enter an institution of higher learning
  • She enrolled in the fall of 1900
  • She was the first person was was blind and deaf to earn a bachelor of Arts degree
  • Helen graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College on June 28, 1904

Helen’s Graduation Picture

Helen’s Publications

  • 1903-Helen’s first book The Story of My Life
  • 1913-Out of the Dark-series of essays on socialism
  • 1955-Teacher-book about Anne Sullivan

Helen’s Contribution to Society

  • Had fundraising tours for the American Foundation for the Blind
  • After World War II, Helen traveled the world fundraising for the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind
  • Campaigned to help with the living and working conditions for people who were blind

Awards For Helen

  • Was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson
  • 1965-At the New York World’s Fair, she was elected to Women’s Hall of Fame

The End of Helen’s Life

  • Helen died on June 1, 1968 in Arcan Ridge at the age of 87
  • She died peacefully in her sleep
  • Her lifelong dream was to be able to talk, something she never got to master in life

Helen’s Obituary Picture



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