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Helen Keller was born a healthy child. When Helen was 19 months old, she became ill with what was known as acute congestion of the brain and stomach; this is now known as scarlet fever. As a result, she was left blind, deaf, and mute. For many of her earlier years Helen lived in darkness with very few ways to communicate with others around her. Obviously her attempts were not always successful. When she failed to communicate she would throw fits and have outburst that would upset not only her, but her family as well. Because of these violent fits, she appeared to be a very unruly child, but underneath all of the tragedy was a future inspirational figure that would surprise the world with amazing and countless abilities.
A large amount of Helen's accomplishments would not have been possible if it weren't for her mother and father. Her parents read about Samuel Gridley Howe's accomplishments with the deaf and blind at the Perkins Institution in Boston. With this knowledge, her father brought his daughter to Alexander Graham Bell, a family friend who was well known in society. Bell was so fascinated by six year old Helen that he recommended that she contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston. Anne Sullivan, who was also a recent Perkins graduate, was suggested to be Helen's teacher by Michael Anagnos. Michael Anagnos was the professor of Samuel Gridley Howe, a gentleman who was having great success working with the deaf and blind at Perkins (Notable 389).
Helen's greatest inspiration and life long companion, Anne Sullivan, arrived at her home in Alabama in March of 1887. In just a couple of weeks, Helen learned that everything had a name and that she could communicate with others by using the manual alphabet. Helen also found that she could use the manual alphabet and lip reading to prove her intelligence. The manual alphabet is a system that contains 26 hand symbols, one for each letter of the alphabet. It is
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Helen Keller, the blind, Helen Keller International, deaf, Anne Sullivan, manual alphabet, Samuel Gridley Howe, World War I, mute, John Macy, New York, World War II, Alexander Graham Bell, arteriosclerotic heart disease, well known, Social Security Act, cum laude, scarlet fever, Gold Medal, socialist, essays, old boy, lip reading, young boy, Radcliffe College, Louis Braille, child labor, capital punishment, Arts and letters, public speaking, Colored People, Stone Wall, Curtis Guild, French Legion, Pearl Harbor, peace movement, Golden Heart, birth control, hard work, family and friends, United Kingdom, reading services, outside world, Boston, award, disadvantaged, Michael, a life, society, teacher,