by: Anonymous 6th grade student
Helen Keller was an amazing person that is known all over the world for her help and support with deaf and/or blind people. Helen Adams Keller was born a normal, healthy baby to her wealthy parents, Kate Adams Keller and Colonel Arthur Keller. Her father served as a Captain in the Civil war. During the War, her family lost most of their wealth, and lived modestly. Eventually, her dad took up a job as the editor of a local newspaper. At only 19 months old, Helen fell terribly sick, which left her deaf and blind. Because she was unable to communicate, she became rampant and disorderly, leaving her parents frustrated and at a loss as to how to help her.
Helen’s parents decided to hire someone to help their daughter. Her name was Anne Sullivan, a 20-year-old college graduate. Anne brought Helen a doll and spelled the letters d-o-l-l in her hand. Helen learned to form the letters, but she didn’t even know what they were or meant. Anne decided to try something else. She put Helen’s hand under a water pump and spelled the word ‘w-a-t-e-r’ in her hand. It worked!
By nightfall, Helen understood and learned 30 more words. Anne took Helen to the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Boston. Her teacher was Sarah Fuller. After giving Helen 11 lessons, Anne decided she could take over her lessons from there. Over time Helen learned to write in Braille, touch-lip read, and speak. Because she couldn’t hear anyone else talk, her words were slurred, and she had a high, squeaky voice. Anne had to translate what she was saying to people for her.
Helen contributed so many things for the deaf and blind throughout her life. She was the first person with deafblindness to earn a college degree, graduating cum laude at Radcliffe College. While there, she wrote her first book, The Story of My Life. She began touring internationally on behalf of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, building her support for people with vision disabilities. She met with several world leaders, such as Winston Churchhill, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Gola Meir.
Happily for Helen, in 1956, she won the Academy Award for a documentary film about her life. Helen’s heart broke in 1936 with the death of Anne Sullivan. Polly Thompson took over Anne’s job with Helen. In 1955, she went on one of the most grueling journeys she had ever gone on in her life; 40,000 miles, and 5 months long. Suffering from a stroke a short time later, she retired from the public and spent the rest of her life at home. She died June 1, 1968, and had her ashes buried at the Washington National Cathedral. Because of her amazing help to blind and deaf people all around the world, she is still known and respected today.
“Helen Keller's Life and Legacy.” Helen Keller Intl, 26 Aug. 2021, https://www.hki.org/helen-kellers-life-and-legacy/.
“Biography.” The American Foundation for the Blind, https://www.afb.org/about-afb/history/helen-keller/biography-and-chronology/biography.
“Seven Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn't Know about Helen Keller.” Perkins School for the Blind, 28 June 2021, https://www.perkins.org/seven-fascinating-facts-you-probably-didnt-know-about-helen-keller/.