Helen Keller

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ID card


Name Helen Keller
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Date of Birth: June 27, 1880

Place of Birth: In the estate called "Ivy Green" in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

Date of Death: June 1, 1968

Name of Parents: Captain Arthur H. and to Kate Adams Keller.

Key words: deaf, blind, dumb person, author, activist and lecturer.

What was the person famous for: she was a deaf, blind, dumb person that gets over all her difficulty and became an American author, activist and a lecturer.


Interview

1. You are such a great personality that you have survived so many difficulties in your life. How did everything begin?
First of all, thank you for the compliment. Everything began when I was nineteen months old. I wasn't born blind and deaf. When I was nineteen months, I got an acute sickness that was called by the doctors: "Congestion of the stomach and the brain", what today you may call meningitis or scarlet fever. Everybody thought that I would die from it but I recovered but it left me blind and deaf. This is how everything began.
2. How did people relate to you as a child?
To answer this question I need to describe what kind of a child I was. After I became blind and deaf I became a very difficult child. I smashed dishes and lamps and I drove everybody in my house crazy with my screaming and my hot temper. All my relatives regarded me as a monster and thought that I must be put in an institution. When I was six my parents became desperate. It was too hard for them to look after me. My parents, my relatives and everybody around me related to me as a monster that can't be changed and that there was nothing to do about it. They became desperate.
3. We know that the first person that believed in you and taught you was your teacher Anne Sullivan. How did you feel about her?
Ooo... (with a deep sigh and a smile on her face) My dear teacher Anne… Our relationship was very complicated... In the beginning I hated her. I hated her so much!! Before she came I could do everything I wanted and no one stopped me. Then she suddenly came and started to tell me what is appropriate to do by punishing me on the things that I shouldn't do. How couldn't I hate her?! She was trying to improve my bad behavior that I was used to. She didn't come just to teach me! She tried to control my behavior too!! Her education had really worked because she was so stubborn with me. I will give you an example: I was a very spoiled child. Every time Anne didn't do exactly what I wanted I ran to my mother and she "saved" me from her and all her strictness was destroyed. So, Anne and I moved to a small house that was in our garden in order to separate me from my family so I won't be able to run to my mother. I thought that this house was far away from my real house. I was very angry with her and regressed back to my behavior in the beginning.

After I understood she is not going to give up and let me do what I wanted - like I used to, I learned to love her and now, when I'm looking back I appreciate her very much for all that she did for me. After all, she is the one that taught me how to understand the world and to communicate with it.
4. How did Anne Sullivan succeed to teach you if you were blind, deaf and dumb?
She taught me to spell words with my fingers. She was writing the letter in her fingers and then she put my hand on hers and I felt the shape that she was doing and remembered it and then I learned them, letter after letter. Word after word. I didn't fully understand the meaning of the words that I was writing with my fingers because I'm blind. This "finger language" was the base. Afterward I learned to read with raised letters and later with Braille and later I learned to know what the other was saying by touching his leaps and throat. It was very powerful that I finally knew how to communicate and I could ask for things and people could understand me! This was a great, wonderful feeling, that people can understand me after all those years that I wanted things but couldn't get them because no one could understand me. I think that this is one of the explanations for my bad temper when I was a child.
5. Did you ever use Anne Sullivan 's methods again?
Yes, I did. This was the basis for all my understanding. All what I learned - I learned with it. I compare the new things that I learned to the familiar shapes in my fingers and this way I knew the meaning of the new things.
6. After you learned to communicate with the people around you, what did you do?
Afterward, I attended to the Perkins school for the blind. Then, we (I and Anne) moved to New York City in order to attend to the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf and Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896, we returned to Massachusetts and I went to learn in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies and afterward I went to Radcliff. After I learned to communicate with the people I went to obtain knowledge.
7. Can you describe your experience there?
As I was saying I went to several schools. What I learned from my experience in those schools was that also blind and deaf people can succeed. It was hard. Especially in the regular schools that had no tools for deaf or blind pupils so I needed to get all the books in brail. It was very hard.
8. Which tools did the Wright- Humason School for the Deaf in New York City give you?
I can't say exactly which tools it gave me. Wright – Humason School for the deaf was one of several schools that gave me education. It was a regular school-like the one that you are learning in, just for deaf. It had tools for teaching deaf pupils. I learned there and obtained knowledge. It gave me an important tool for the life – the knowledge.
9. How did you succeed to get into Radcliff and study there? There are a lot of normal people that want to get into there and don't succeed, how did you succeed?
This is a very good question. I think that because I am not a healthy, regular person I needed to make, and I did, extreme efforts to get into there and maybe because of that I got into there and graduated in excellence.
10. Did you ever get married?
No, I didn't.
11. You became a famous person and met famous people. What caused it?
I think that the first thing that I became known as was that I was the first deaf - blind person that graduated collage. Later, Michael Anagnus (-who sent us Anne) publicized numerous of articles about me and these articles led to publicity and I became famous.
12. What were your purposes in your life? Did you reach them?
My purposes in each part of my life were different. When I was a child I think that my purpose was to know what's happening to me. I knew that I'm different and I wanted to be like everybody. When I was bigger I wanted to know how to communicate. Later, I wanted to speak and finally I wanted to obtain knowledge. Yes, I did my best and I realized most of my goals.graduate.jpg






speech

Hello dear friends.
We all got together today for the purpose of raising our awareness to a very special kind of people. People that their destiny was decided since they were born, or that they had an unlucky life and they become like this. Deaf, blind or dumb people.

I'm one of those people. I was born like a regular child. I was like your own kids. I liked to run, to play, to jump, to hug, to kiss, to laugh, to look at this beautiful world that we have, to learn new things, new colors. And suddenly, one day everything became dark. There was an unclear feeling. Everything became blurry, unclearly, dark.
To feel just a little bit of that shocking feeling that I felt this dark day, please all of you, without any exception, close your ayes. Now, try to walk in this room without bumping into each other, to know who is standing in front of you, even just to reach with your arms to the bottle that is standing right in front of you.

Now I can see that all of you already opened your ayes. Those children would never be able to open there ayes. Even if they really want to.

You, the principals of the schools all over the country, you can do a little something for those children. You can relieve the painful life to those children. I'm begging now in front of you, please help them. You have the opportunity to help them. You can do so many helpful things for them in yours schools. You can obtain special equipment for them. This would give them a little hope that they can. They can succeed in their life. That they have chance.

Please do that. You can. You have to.
It's such a small act for you, and for them, it's like you are giving them light. Not the regular light that we are all blessed in. You could light a light in theirs hearts. This is the real light. An internal light that you can give them. 8!!!.jpg

Now, it is time to help them.
Please. Help them.

My thank is theirs.


Thank you.






Biography


Helen Keller was a deaf, blind and a dumb woman who met the challenge and succeeded in her life despite all her difficulties. Even though she was challenged she became an American author, an activist, a lecturer and was the first deaf blind person that ever graduated collage.

Helen Keller was born in an estate that is called Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, a small rural town in Alabama, to Captain Arthur H. Keller, a former officer of the Confederate Army, and to Kate Adams Keller. She was born on June 27th 1880 in Tuscumbia and died on June 1st, 1968.
Helen Keller wasn't born blind and deaf. She was born a regular child and she was so until she was nineteen months old. Then she came down with an illness that was described by the doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain". Helen was expected to die, but eventually her fever went down and the illness went away. Her family believed and thought that she became healthy again. But they didn't know that the illness had left her both blind and deaf. Her mother soon noticed that her daughter hadn't responded when the dinner bell rang or when she passed her hand in front of her daughter’s eyes she even didn't blink. Then, they all understood that her illness had left her blind and deaf.
From then on Helens' family and she had very hard days. Helen became a very difficult child that smashed dishes and lamps and terrorized the whole household with her screaming and temper tantrums. Her relatives regarded her as a monster and thought she should be put into a closed institution. 5!!.jpg
By the time that Helen became six her family had become desperate. Looking after her was becoming too much for them. Helens' mother, Kate Keller, read in Charles Dickens’ book “American Notes” on the fantastic work that had been done with another deaf and blind child, and decided to go to a specialist doctor in Baltimore for advice. The doctor told them that Helen would never see or hear again but he told them not to give up hope. He believed that Helen could be taught. He advised them to visit in a local expert on the problems of deaf children. This expert was Alexander Graham Bell that suggested them to write to Michael Anagnos the director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts' Asylum for the Blind, and to request that he would try to find Helen a teacher. That teacher was Anne Sullivan.
When Annie came she started teaching Helen the finger spelling. Helen learned how to spell out the word "Doll" and when and got a doll. When she spelled "cake" she got a cake. Helen was a great student and repeated all the hand movements without understanding that she is "speaking".
Helen was also very stubborn and used tantrums when the work got to hard. Many times her mother would interrupt the lesson and take pity on Helen. Finally Anne needed a private place to work with Helen. The garden house was fixed up for Anne and Helen's needs. Helen had no idea her parents could see her, and she finally learned to respect Anne as her teacher.
The breakthrough happened when Helen was touching the water pump and felt the water trickling on her hands. While her teacher spelled the word "water" Helen suddenly understood the connection. Then, there was no stopping Helen. She ran around hugging everyone and demanding to know their names, people, things in the house and in nature.
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Helen's bottled up curiosity burst out. She wanted to know so much. She and Anne traveled back to Perkins where she learned Braille. Later, she went to College and graduated in excellence. She learned to understand people's regular speech by placing her hand on their throat to feel the vibrations of their vocal chords. Her hand "read lips".
She traveled around the world meeting great leaders and lecturing on the hope challenged people have to succeed. This inspired many people and books and films were made about her.
She even learned how to speak, but her speech needed clarification. Her teacher spends most of her life with her.


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Anne died in 1936. Helen and Polly Thompson moved to Connecticut. After World War II, Helen and Polly spent years traveling the world fundraising for the blind. They visited Japan, Australia, South America, Europe and Africa.
Helen Keller proved that with hard work and determination there is no limit to the knowledge one can gain. She learned to read not only English but also French, German, Greek, and Latin. How many people do you know who can see and hear do all that?







rationale

Why did we choose to do our project on Helen Keller? It is very easy to answer this question. We chose to do our project on her because we all the time heard from here and from there phrases on her, How great she was. We heard quotes of her that sounded very smart, like someone very smart wrote them and they left a very strong impression on us and made us wonder. We knew that she was an unusual personality that dealt with a lot of difficulty in her life, difficulty that we don't know and don't - and won't be challenged with in our life.
We kind of knew who she was, but we wanted to expand our knowledge about her. From what we heard she was a great personality and we wanted to know more. To know more who she was and how she managed with all her difficulty – only when we searched for information for our project, we actually understood how big and how difficult they were.



Reflection

We learned about Helen Keller and her life.
In addition, we learned how her teacher Anna Sullivan continued trying to teach her in different ways and that she didn't give up. That taught us not to give up, that there is hope in any situation – that even Helen Keller, that was an unusual person with many difficulties but even though she got over them, she didn't give up, and she became famous. This fact that we learned about encouraged us and cheered us up. We learned from her a lesson for life.
Also, we learned from that project how to format and write in English and to search for material.
We learned from the work on this project writing skills, we expand our vocabulary, and we improved our English language.
We encountered some difficulty during working on the project: it was hard for us to select from all the information the important things, to read and to do all this project in English, we didn't have enough time for the paper, the teacher wasn't available to help us during the class's time, so she invest from her own time and came to school and helped us. That's helped us allot.
We understood all instructions and the assignments were clear and fair.
We very enjoyed working together, we were excellent partners. We are very proud of all the work that we did, and on all the hard way that we past. BUT the work was hut as long and tiring. We would enjoy more if it wasn't like that.






Bibliography


"The life of Helen Keller." RNIB Royal National Institute of Blind People. 21/01/2008 16:44. Royal National Institute of Blind People. 20 Feb 2008
<http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_keller.hcsp>.


"Helen Keller." AFB American Foundation for the Blind. American Foundation for the Blind. 20 Feb 2008 <http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?sectionid=1>.


Wikipedia contributors . "Helen Keller ." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 February 2008 11:31. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 20 Feb 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Helen_Keller&oldid=189238300>.


"Helen Keller—In Her Own Words." American Foundation for the Blind. 2005. American Foundation for the Blind. 20 Feb 2008 <http://www.afb.org/mylife/book.asp?ch=HK-intro>.


"Helen Keller Biography." Helen Keller - kids museum online. 2007. American Foundation for the Blind. 20 Feb 2008 <http://www.afb.org/braillebug//helen_keller_bio.asp>.


"Biography of." Helen Keller services for the blind. Helen Keller services for the blind. 20 Feb 2008 <http://www.helenkeller.org/graphicversion/bio.html>