Jun 012017
 

Have You Heard of Helen Keller?

Helen as a young child
Helen as a young child

When Helen was almost two years of age, she became so sick that he parents thought she might die.  The illness took away Helen’s eye-sight and hearing.  Her parents were very sad and they did not know what to do for their daughter.

Hiring a Teacher for Helen

Not being able to see, Helen bumped into furniture and tripped over things.  She could not hear her parents when they tried to warn her of danger.  They loved her deeply, but never was able to teacher her good manners.  She ate with her hands instead of using a knife and fork.  Her parents thought that teaching her these things would just upset her.

Picture from the Movie - "The Miracle Worker"
Picture from the Movie – “The Miracle Worker”

The new teacher was a Miss Annie O’Sullivan and she was going blind.  However, she had learned all the skills necessary for teaching blind children.  She first had to battle with Helen who refused to be taught anything.

Helen Learns Sign Language

Helen was stubborn with the new teacher.  When Miss O’Sullivan put a knife and fork in Helen’s hands, she would throw them away and often she would toss her plate of food.  Miss O’Sullivan would not give up and as  Helen touched things, her teacher would sign them.  This did not make sense at first but one day – Helen touched water – and Miss O’Sullivan signed  each letter for her –         w -a-t-e-r.  Helen suddenly knew that the letters could mean an object.

Now, Helen wanted to know the sign language words for everything.  She now knew the words for things around her even though she could not see or hear them.

The Older Helen

Helen graduated from university - a great accomplishment for a blind and deaf person
Helen graduated from university – a great accomplishment for a blind and deaf person

Thanks to Louis Braille’s invention, Helen began to read books that were invented for blind people.  Louis Braille, a blind teen, invented Braille – a language of raised dots – to help blind people to read.

Nothing Could Stop Helen

Helen graduated from university and wrote books.  She went on tours and people were amazed that this blind and deaf woman could talk and educate them on many things and subjects.

Is Anything Stopping You from Being Great?

As a young person, there are challenges that you have to overcome.  Helen’s challenges were being blind and not being able to hear.  Yet, she went to university.   Louis Braille was blind and yet he was able to learn to play the cello and organ.

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In this world, young people like you are trying desperately to get an education.  Some live in poor countries where they have to get up and do heavy chores before they walk a long way to school.  Some of these chores are like looking after cattle or getting water from a well.

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Some walk as long as 2-3 hours to get to school.  Some are lucky to have bikes.  In many countries, girls have to convince their parents to let them have an education.

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Schools are often crowded, small and do not have many books. Some schools do not have computers.  None of these kids are lazy and they know that an education will get them out of poverty.

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Do your best.  Get help if you have problems.   If you get good marks at school, try to help others so that they can improve their grades.  And remember Helen Keller and Louis Braille and their childhood struggles.

 

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