By Diane Forrest
There is a movie called The Miracle Worker. It is the story of a woman who became the tutor of a young girl. No one believes this child could learn anything. You see she was both deaf and blind as a result of a childhood illness, probably scarlet fever or meningitis. Had she been born to another family, we might never have come so far so fast in the field of teaching the deaf and blind how to communicate. Her father was the editor for an Alabama newspaper, and her family line included Robert E. Lee, and Charles Adams, a general for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
They would not allow their daughter to be put in some institution to live the remainder of her life, instead they hired Anne Sullivan to move in with them and tutor their daughter. Her name - Helen Keller. Through time, patience and meticulous instructions, Helen was able to learn to communicate with those around her. Ms. Sullivan remained with Helen until her death.
Helen went on to become an advocate for people with disabilities, she was a suffragette, and went on to become a writer who supported the working class. She met every president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson and was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.
Medical Science has made great strides since the days of Helen Keller. There are many medical solutions as well as scientific solutions for helping those who are deaf and blind.
The Perkins Institute, where Helen was a student and the first deaf/blind person to receive a Bachelor's degree, is still in existence and is still teaching those who are deaf and blind. The Helen Keller institute not only helps those who are deaf and blind, but also does research for these conditions as well. This week is Helen Keller Deaf Blindness Awareness Week. Please visit these sites and find out ways you can support this important research.