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Helen Keller: The Creation of a Miracle

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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

The eyes and the ears are human beings’ most valuable possessions that keep them connected to the world. Loss of sight or hearing can be devastating, but losing both can totally sever the connection between a person and the world. Helen Keller, the famous author, lecturer and activist, was born a healthy child. She contracted an illness, when she was 18 months old, and as a result, she lost sight and hearing. The world could have become a dark silent place for her, but fortunately it did not.

Dealing with a deaf and blind child was difficult, so Helen Keller’s parents sought help. The role of Helen Keller’s educator, Anne Sullivan, cannot be ignored. Without her, Helen Keller would have roamed in darkness. Anne Sullivan taught Helen new words through the “finger spelling” method, where she would introduce Helen to the world around her through the sense of touch, by linking objects to certain hand movements. She splashed water over Helen Keller’s hand and spelled the word by fingers on Helen’s other hand so that Helen knows what water is.

Sullivan exerted tremendous effort with Keller. Mark Twain, the famous author, who knew both Keller and Sullivan, called Sullivan the “miracle worker”. It is worth mentioning that Anne Sullivan’s work with Helen remains a blueprint for how blind or blind deaf children should be taught.

Helen Keller was also adamant on learning. Assisted by her enduring companion, Anne Sullivan, Keller continued her education and received the Bachelor of Arts. Keller learned different ways of communication including touch-lip reading, Braille, speech, typing and finger-spelling. As deaf and blind, speaking was not an easy thing for her. She was not disheartened because of her physical limitation, and she joined the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston so as to learn how to speak. In her book, The Story of My Life, she describes how difficult it is for those who are both deaf and blind to learn how to speak. She writes that “they cannot distinguish the tone of the voice or, without assistance, go up and down the gamut of tones that give significance to words”. She never managed to speak normally.

Due to the calamity that befell her, Helen Keller became a blessing to the world. Along with writing and giving lectures, Helen Keller founded the Helen Keller International, a non-profit organization for preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition. Helen Keller is an inspirational figure; difficult as her life was, she did not lose hope. She succeeded and her success meant that the deaf-blind were capable of doing many things, and that with enough help, they can function like healthy people if not better.

References

biography.com
afb.org
brainyquote.com
hki.org
digital.library.upenn.edu

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