Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan

Helen Keller was a great woman. Now she is a hero for showing the world that severe disability doesn’t mean a life of ignorance and institutionalization. In her time that was a radical concept. She was incredibly determined to live a normal life and she worked so hard to achieve her goals. She learned five languages in fingerspelling. She learned to speak though she couldn’t hear her own voice, the sounds of the words, or even lipreading the movements of speech. It is an incredible achievement in my opinion.

Her teacher, Annie Sullivan, was incredible too. She stayed with Helen for fifty years. I was amazed because my own aides last about two or three years before they move on to grad school, motherhood, or new jobs. Not only that, but Sullivan was also visually impaired. She still assisted Helen in school and out. So, Annie Sullivan was also a disabled hero.

What creates such motivation as both women had? Is it friendship, intelligence, or some divine talent? I work hard though Helen worked harder. She worked so hard to prove she deserved her place in the sun. She showed what hard work can do. Instead of a life in an institution, wild and locked in, completely cut off from communication, she became a star of the world, giving hope to millions, and giving herself the gift of freedom. She did this in spite of having a lonely disability that cut her off from conversation and sight. In fighting for herself, she fought for me and many others too. Maybe one day I will be a real leader like her.

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