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Helen Keller

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  • Helen Keller

    Helen Keller (1880-1968) was an American author, a political activist and a lecturer. What made this a great feat was the fact that she was both blind and deaf!

    Helen was not born blind and deaf. When she was 19 months old, she contracted a disease which left her both blind and deaf. It could have been an attack of scarlet fever or meningitis!

    She was able to communicate with Martha-the family cookís six year old daughter. By the time Helen was seven years old, she had more than 60 signs to communicate with her family.

    Twenty years old Anna Sullivan-herself a visually impaired person-became Helenís instructor, governess, friend and companion for life!

    Anna began to teach her to communicate by spelling a word in Helenís palm and letting her touch the same object with her other hand!

    In 1904, Helen became the first deaf and blind person to earn the degree of Bachelor of Art. She was 24 years old then.

    Helen wrote and published several articles and twelve books. She traveled widely and spent much of her time in raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind.

    Helen was the most admired person of the 20th Century. On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom-one of the two highest civilian awards of U.S.A. In 1965, she was elected to the National Womanís Hall of Fame at New York World Fair.

    It is amazing how any blind and deaf person could overcome her physical challenges to rise to such a height-which even normal healthy people are unable to do!

    Visalakshi Ramani