The Impacting Life Story of Helen Keller
Helen Keller was an important and successful author, political activist, and lecturer in American history. Helen was born a healthy child, but at the age of two, she contracted an illness called “brain fever” which left her deaf and blind. As a result, Helen became unruly, violent, and would constantly throw temper tantrums. She was believed to be impossible to teach. Refusing to have her institutionalized, her parents hired a teacher who specialized with deaf and blind children. Helen’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, not only taught her and gave her the ability to communicate, she transformed her life. Helen Keller was able to attend college and later became an advocate for the blind. She never allowed her disabilities to get in the way of her success. Her story to this day is so impactful that her life was portrayed in the Broadway Play “The Miracle Worker”. Helen Keller is an important figure in history because of her impacting life story, her ability to overcome her disabilities, and her life’s work.
Helen Keller’s life story is extremely impacting and unique. She overcame her disabilities and never allowed the challenges those disabilities brought hold her back from reaching her goals and accomplishments. Helen Keller reached developmental milestones very early in her infancy. In 1882, Keller contracted an illness that produced a very high fever. Days later, the illness changed her life by leaving her deaf and blind. Helen’s mother was the first to notice that something was wrong with her. Helen’s personality had changed, and she just appeared to be disconnected. “Within a few days after the fever broke, Keller’s mother noticed that her daughter didn’t show any reaction when…. when a hand was waved in front of her face” (Helen Keller Biography). Her mother’s concerns were confirmed by their family doctor who diagnosed Helen to be deaf and blind. Not only was Helen unable to recognize others, her behavior became wild and unruly. Her mother began to have a difficult time controlling her and was in need of assistance. Doctors as well as family members suggested to Helen’s parents that she should be institutionalized. Helen began having uncontrollable tantrums. Her parents disagreed and began searching for someone to educate their daughter.
As Helen’s tantrums appeared to worsen, she also began to develop an ability to communicate with the young daughter of the family’s cook. The two developed a type of sign language which enabled them to communicate with one another. Because of this, her behavior improved. She no longer had the frustration of not being able to communicate and express herself and her feelings. This also proved that Helen was able to learn. Her parents began to actively search for a teacher who could work with deaf and blind children. They were desperate to seek someone who could reach their daughter’s mind and help her to communicate. After being examined by Alexander Graham Bell, Helen was referred to a remarkable young teacher from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston by the name of Anne Sullivan. She specialized in educating children with these disabilities. Within just a few months, Sullivan helped Helen to associate objects by touch with words spelled out by finger signals on the palm of her hand. She also taught her to read sentences by feeling raised words on a cardboard block (Helen Keller. John P. Rafferty). With the help of Sullivan, she was able to learn how to read and write. This laid the foundation for Helen to go on to college and become a successful author and educator. Helen’s education represents an amazing accomplishment in the education of persons who are deaf and blind. She attended several schools for persons with these disabilities to learn to read Braille, to speak, and to lip-read by placing her fingers on the lips and throat of the speaker while the words were simultaneously spelled out for her.
Helen’s determination to overcome her challenges lead her to a successful school career. By the age of 14, Helen had enrolled in the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City. She was admitted to Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts by age 16. Her excellent grades in high school won her admission to the Radcliffe College in 1900. Although her four years of college may have been very difficult, her determination and perseverance lead her to graduate cum laude in 1904. She began to write about her life and overcoming so many obstacles during her college years. Helen and Sullivan became well known in the college circles of the time. Together, they made several presentations on advocacy for persons with disabilities. “Keller and Anne Sullivan… struggled together through four years of college like a pair of Siamese twins, joined by their flying fingers” (Helen Keller. Roger Shattuck). Sullivan never left Helen’s side from the moment they met. She became Helen’s voice throughout high school, college, and career. Sullivan helped Helen reach her full potential and remained her faithful companion throughout her life. By sharing her story, she inspired and became an example to those who have disabilities and feel that they are limited to what they can do. In addition to having to overcome her disabilities, she also had to face many critics during her college years. Helen and Sullivan were often accused of being frauds. She never allowed any of the negativity surrounding her get in the way of achieving her goals.
Helen Keller’s effort to learn to communicate and desire to overcome her disability meant that she had to work harder than the rest of her peers while in college. She relied on Sullivan as her personal companion during all classes in order to complete her work. Unlike her peers, Helen used unconventional approaches to academics while at Radcliffe College. She communicated through touch-lip reading, Braille, typing and finger-spelling. Sullivan sat by her side in all classes to interpret lectures and texts. Regardless of how difficult it became, she was determined to graduate from college. She was willing to do all it would take to reach her goals and get to where she strived to be. Helen was the first deaf and blind person in American history to obtain a bachelor’s degree. While in college she published her most famous autobiography called “The Story of My Life”. In addition to writing numerous articles, she also published 12 books that instantly became best sellers (10 Major Achievements of Helen Keller. Anirudh). The story of Helen Keller began to grow popular with the public. Many famous and influential people wished to meet her. One of those was Henry H. Rogers, a Standard Oil executive. Rogers was so impressed with Keller’s talent, drive and determination that he agreed to pay for her to attend Radcliffe College. After graduating from Radcliffe, Helen dedicated her life to advocacy for persons with disabilities. She became a role model and idol to those who struggle with disabilities and brought much hope into their lives. She became a highly recognized and the recipient of numerous awards.
Helen was determined to work on behalf of others living with disabilities by sharing her own experiences. She became a well-known celebrity, lecturer and outspoken social activist. In 1924, Helen became a part of the American Foundation for the Blind. This was a non-profit organization for those who are blind. Her membership in the foundation paved the way for the rise of her social activism. Helen became well known throughout the twentieth century as she campaigned for issues such as women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes. “Keller traveled across the United States for AFB and helped in the creation of rehabilitation centers and state commissions for the blind” (10 Major Achievements of Helen Keller. Anirudh). Helen did not believe enough services were being offered for those who were blind. Therefore, she testified before Congress, strongly advocating to improve the welfare of blind people. She became the cofounder of Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. It is to this day one of the world’s premier international not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition. Helen also helped found the American Civil Liberties Union. A foundation named after her provides treatments and any medical attention necessary for any type of disease that may cause one to be blind. Helen’s achievements and strong spirit helped to change the way people view persons with disabilities.
Helen Keller’s courage and fortitude are one of the main factors that allowed her to accomplish her goals despite her disabilities. She focused more on achieving her goals than on worrying about what her disability was going to hold her back from doing. Helen refused to allow being blind and deaf restrain her from doing what she desired and had a love for. Being a captivating author, Helen documented her life in memoirs. She also was a well-known speaker who delivered motivational speeches assisted by Sullivan by her side. Her life’s work became recognized throughout the nation by leaders and celebrities. Her accomplishments included multiple awards for her courage. She also received honorary doctorates from Glasgow, Harvard, and Temple Universities. “In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Ms. Keller with the Presidential Medal of Freedom ” (Waltzing with Helen Keller. The New York Times). Helen was bothered by the way others viewed the disabled and had a desire to change it. This desire led her to help influence people’s perceptions of the deaf and blind by focusing on their determination to overcome obstacles rather than on inviting others to feel pity for them. There is no doubt that Helen Keller was one of the most remarkable figures from the mid twentieth century. All those who she influenced began to focus their works on her life. They realized that it had a major impact on many, and that the affect it had on the people would be long term. Keller’s life story was portrayed in the 1919 film, “Deliverance” and in a Broadway production in 1959 called “The Story of My Life”. These productions became very popular and attracted the many people who she influenced, and those who looked up to her as a role model. Her life story was later picked up by Hollywood. The “Miracle Worker”, a title often given to Anne Sullivan, became an Oscar-winning film in 1962.
Helen’s impacting life story, resolve to overcome her disabilities, and countless achievements, lead up to her becoming a notable figure in American History. Her life’s work opened doors of opportunity for the deaf and blind. Helen Keller served as a major influence in changing society’s perception of disabled persons. Anne was the one who taught Helen what she needed to succeed and stayed at her side through it all. Sullivan also had and continues to have an impact on teachers who work with children whom have disabilities. The teaching techniques Sullivan used to educate Helen are presently cited in most special education textbooks used in colleges till today. Her techniques along with her teaching skills had a major impact on the many accomplishments of Helen Keller. Over a half a century after her death, Helen is still as popular today as she was while she was alive. She continues and will continue to influence and affect the lives of persons with disabilities, teachers, families with disabled children and politicians as she did in the past. Her significance in history will continue to increase day by day. By the time of her death in 1968, Helen was the recipient of numerous honors, university degrees, awards and even elected to the Women’s Hall of Fame. Her life story stands for courage, determination, and relentlessness. Helen fought overwhelming odds to triumph over her loss of hearing and sight to become an advocate and voice to those who did not have one.
- Anirudh. 10 Major Achievements of Helen Keller (2017).
- Editors, Biography.com. Helen Keller Biography (2014).
- Einhorn, Lois J. Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless but Seen, Deaf but Heard. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.
- Macy, John Albert: Helen Keller. The Story of My Life. Doubleday, Page, 1903.
- Rafferty, John P. Helen Keller: American Author and Educator (1999).
- Shattuck, Roger. Helen Keller (2004).
- Times, The New York. ‘Waltzing With Helen Keller.’ The New York Times 1 June 2016.
The Life of Helen Keller Who Spoke Up for the Disability
Helen Keller was a brilliant woman with very horrible disabilities. When Helen turned two she found out she had meningitis, and a brain infection. Because there wasn’t any cure in those days in time it led to her having blindness and deafness. Helen was known to be a wild and unruly child. She had a very hard time learning until Anne Sullivan came along. She helped Helen communicate by using a special kind of sign language. Anne would put her hand and Helen’s hand and sign to her so she was able to feel it since she was not able to see what she was signing. Helen eventually got the hang of it and was soon able to communicate well with other people who knew the same sign language she knew and she also learned to read a new type of writing called Braille. Helen was even able to read lips by touching someone else’s face. Helen also learned a few things she was not able to see, things like water and some other objects.
Later on, Anne and Helen moved to New York to go to school for the blind and then went to school for the deaf after that. When Helen was finished with school she attended college at Radcliffe College in the 1900’s. Helen was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college with a college degree. After graduating college, Helen started to publish books. One of Helen’s well known book is called The Story of My Life that was originally published in 1903. Helen also got the opportunity to travel all around the world and started getting recognized in many different countries. Japan admired Helen so much that they gave her a special dog as a gift. Japan thought Helen was so amazing and kind for standing up to help more people like her. Helen was so thankful for Japan for being very supportive and for the gift especially since Helen loved dogs. Throughout her journeys Helen had traveled to Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, and Yugoslavia.
Helen wanted to travel all around the world to be able to speak up for the disability. She spoke up to get the disability into school because she understands how it feels being different from everybody else. She knows that it is hard not being in school and trying to keep up with the other children because of a disability that slows you down. But Helen believed even if you do have a disability you can still push through your limits and be successful in life. Helen thought everybody on the planet should be treated equally. She thought that you should treat others how you want to be treated because everybody has feelings and everybody’s feelings can get hurt. No matter how tough you are or how weak you are everybody has feelings. The way Helen thought was truly amazing. She always wanted to help others and not worry as much about herself. That is what made Helen who she was.
Everybody loved her and they also loved her speech. Her speech inspired many people around the world and was able to get disabled children in school and got many adults a good education. Helen helped so many disabled children and she changed their whole life. Helen also made so many people view disabled people different. Disabled people got more respect and kindness from others. People who didn’t have a disability never understood how it felt being behind the curtains. They never knew what it felt like being so different and unusual compared to everybody else. But Helen changed the way they thought. Helen let the world know how it really was and she changed the views on many people. But because of everything Helen has done, she was able to receive many awards, honorees, memorials, and many things that was in honor of Helen. She even received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 from president Lyndon B. Johnson. She also got an Academy Award for a documentary that talked about Helen’s life. Helen was even awarded an honorary degree from Harvard because it was a dream of Helen’s to attend school there but was a college only for men at the time. In conclusion, Helen has helped the world understand the difficulties of the disabled and helped so many of them get a good education.
Helen Keller: a Figure of Inspiration
Helen Keller is amongst the foremost memorable women in history. She was truly an exceptional and courageous person with inner strength. She was certainly a heroic person. Helen Keller was blind and deaf, and though that left her and her family devastated, she did not let this major obstacle ruin her good spirits or her life.
Despite being blind as well as deaf, she learned to communicate and lived a life dedicated to serving to others. Her faith, determination, and spirit helped her to accomplish far more than many people expected. In fact, she won the admiration of diverse famous figures such as Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell and William James.
In June of 1880, Helen Keller was born in the city of Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was born as a perfectly healthy baby. When Helen was nineteen months old, she developed an illness that resulted in both blindness and deafness. It has thought that the sickness was either meningitis or scarlet fever. She communicated with her family by making signs and body language. As Helen grew older, she became terribly stressed with herself for she was unable to communicate with other people. She had a very bad tantrum, which no one can help her. They consulted with Alexander Graham Bell, who worked with the deaf, and he suggested they hire Anne Sullivan as Helen’s teacher. This decision would change Helen’s life forever.
Anne Sullivan was a determined, young teacher who had lived with blindness herself until undergoing successful surgery. Anne would be teaching her student proper behavior in everyday situations along with educational lessons. Once establishing what would become a lifelong relationship, Anne began to teach Helen the alphabet by finger spelling the sign language letters into the palm of Helen’s hand. Soon, Helen recognized the letter combinations that Anne finger spelled to her. Helen had an unrelenting desire to learn. Anne continued to work with her eager student on finger spelling. Helen soon learned how to read Braille, write, and even started trying to speak. Together with the assistance of her beloved teacher Anne Sullivan, who was also partially blind, Helen was able to accomplish several goals in life.
Helen Keller had aspirations of going to college. She was a person who did not allow her physical challenges to deter her dreams. In 1904, Helen Keller was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliffe College.
After graduating, Helen Keller spent the rest of her life working on behalf of blind and deaf people all over the world. With Anne at her side, she went on speaking tours and wrote articles on the significant role these individuals have in our society. Her influential work won her high honors like the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among her other written works, The Story of My Life, serves as an inspirational book for individuals both blind and sighted.
Helen Keller could be a figure of inspiration to many. Despite having disabilities, she overcame those and strived for knowledge. No obstacle in her life stopped her from achieving her dream. Her continuous struggle and optimistic perspective led her to the extent she is and will be on forever. Helen Keller indeed dedicated her life to helping others. She was an author, speaker, and advocate with a spirit of determination known throughout the world. Her incredible life of eighty-seven years will be celebrated for centuries to come.
A Pesona of Helen Keller
A lack of motivation is a real pressing problem, throughout United States in Education. Intrinsic motivation is defined as an internal force that motivates students to learn Schuster’s article comments on which she describes five characteristics. PIO Research, states 40% of High School students are “chronically disengaged”. This statistics shows that students’ lack of intrinsic motivation cause them to disengaged from school, leading to academic failure. Helen Keller was an American author, women’s rights activist, political, and first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Despite of her disability, with the help of her mentor Anne Sullivan, she was able to achieve her skills to excel her learning skills beyond her arisen to explore, and learn new things. I believe that Helen Keller does demonstrate Schuster’s characteristics of a good student.
Helen Keller demonstrates curiosity; by she was questioning, and wanting to learn more about filled with question. Schuster’s characteristics of curiosity defined as desire to question, explore, or see differently. When she was with her mentor Anne Sullivan about the question, Helen Keller demonstrates curiosity; by she was questioning, and wanting to learn more about filled with question. Shuster’s characteristics of curiosity defined as desire to question, explore, or see differently. She demonstrated when she was with her mentor Anne Sullivan about the question, when she has to learn, her curiosity grew, and her mind was filled with questions. And realized now she has the tool to learn. When she went to see the next day, Anne Sullivan gave violet flowers to her. She kissed her on the cheek, and she felt disgusted, because she only likes her kissed from her mother. And Anne Sullivan said, “I love Helen”. And she was filled with confusion, and said “What is the meaning of the word love.” (11). In the Instance, Helen Keller was curiosity, by questioning Anne Sullivan about the meaning of the word love. It’s ambivalent for her because she can only learn through touch. She would do what a young child would do, attempting to get the right answer.
Helen Keller demonstrates discipline, by willing to learn to proven herself that she could do anything. Schuster’s characteristics of discipline defined as being persistent without any shortcuts. When Helen Keller was with Anne Sullivan, she has assigned to Helen to arrange the beads to group them in order small to large. She had to put them like in the right order, so she could please Anne Sullivan with the results. She noticed her mistake, and tried doing it again for correcting her mistake. Anne Sullivan was patience with her, so Helen doesn’t have to feel frustrated about the time. She said, “I noticed a very obvious error in an instance… I concentrated my attention on the lesson and tried to think how I should have arranged the beads. (19)“ She stated that she have been making a lot of mistakes, but still trying to learn to get in the right order. Even though she keeps trying again, Anne Sullivan gave her a boost by touching her forehead, and said to her in a one word “think”. It helped Helen Keller to motivate herself to keep trying.
Helen Keller demonstrated Initiative, by realizing that now she has a tool to learn. Shuster’s characteristics of initiative defined as taking charge and responsibility. When she left the well house, she was at her room thinking about how she couldcooperate her learning technique, that Anne Sullivan taught her, so she can make herself a better student. . Her knowledge grew more inside of her craving for learning.
Helen Keller demonstrates enthusiasm, by realizing that there was a new language as awaken her making her excited. Schuster’s characteristics of enthusiasm defined as to feeling excitement or enjoyment. When she’s at the well house with Anne Sullivan, she drew a picture of water, so she can demonstrated today’s lesson. She placed Helen Keller hands under the sprout of water. She wanted Helen Keller to say the word water slowly, and touching it at the same time. Her fingers felt the cool sensation on her fingertips. And she realized there was mystery languages awaken inside of her. And she finally spells and says the word water. Helen said, “Her soul has awakened gave her light at joy.. Through the mystery language and everything as a name, and eager to wanting to learn more. (7).” She stated that a new language as awaken inside of her, and she prevailed it. Now, she’s eager to explore, and interested of learning new things, like a normal child would. But her disability were countervailing against her ability to learn normally, because she’s blind and deaf ever since she was born. Anne Sullivan used a technique of touch, which is not prevalent in any other lessons. Her purpose for Anne Sullivan is to help Helen to learn, so she can get the information right, Helen used her touch as a sense, so she can feel and say the words. Because she could only way to learn through touch. Touching is very important technique that Helen Keller has to master. The lesson of Anne Sullivan was invaluable which motivate Helen Keller to succeed.
Helen Keller demonstrates Schuster’s characteristics of a good student well. To develop these characteristics, students should make a schedule, so they can keep on track with their work or homework assignments. This advice will help students to be organized; by showing initiative, students show responsibility, by writing the schedule, so they can be on track. And showing enthusiasm, by not stressing themselves on which assignment is due. Also, students show interest with their schedule by seeing the schedule, and feeling accomplished with their hard work. Students should also read their chapters before class. Reading chapters helps with their curiosity by knowing what the topic of the lecture and engaging with the reading can help them learn the main idea of the passage in their reading in the textbook filled with questions, and it makes them want to read more about the information. Also, it demonstrates discipline because the students will read every passage in a paragraph of knowing to leads end of the chapter. Learning from the textbook, students can be acknowledged with all the information, and getting to know their perspective with the novel or the textbook to grow inside of them becoming a better reader. It shows how intrinsic motivation can help students to succeed.
Life Challenges in Three Days to See Essay
Academic Response Essay; “Three Days to Live”
Hellen Keller was just 19 months old when she became blind and deaf due to an illness. Yet, she did not let this hold her back. She made the best out of her situation and learned to communicate through sign language, voice lessons, and most effectively her writing. In 1902, Keller published her own autobiography, The Story of My Life, in addition she also published numerous overbooks and essays including the essay “Three Days to See”. In this essay Keller’s main ideas are based on her perspective on life and the value of life and our senses. The thought of how we should life everyday like it is our last and how most of us take life for granted and we are not grateful for what we have until we lose it. From my own experiences, I agree with Keller’s view about people not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, but I also disagree with the idea of how she believes that “Only the deaf appreciate hearing. Only the blind realize the blessing that lies in light” (page 1).
In her essay “Three Days to See” Keller writes about her views on life and what she would do if she had three days to see. On the first day she explains how she would like to see everyone who has made her life worth living for and her dogs. She also wants to take a walk in the woods and see a glorious sunset fallowed by being able to see in the artificial light. On the second day she will visit the past. The museums which she has visited before and touched with her hand but this time she will be able to see the exhibits. That evening she will attend the theater where she can see the actors moving so gracefully across the stage. Lastly, on the third and final day she embraces the present by going to New York City. Where she can see the city from below for the top of the empire state building and stroll down Fifth Avenue and be a window shopper. That evening as her time of seeing is coming to an end she will attend the theater again, this time to watch a hilarious funny play. Keller knows that as soon as her sight is taken away she will only be left with memories. The way she spends her three days being able to embrace every object within her range of vision and embracing the world of beauty around us really makes you think about how lucky we are to have all these senses.
One of Keller’s main ideas is not being grateful for what you have until you lose it. Based on my own personal experiences, I live by this motto. In September of 2017 my uncle and my papa were in a plane crash and both passed away. This made me take a step back and take a good look at all the people in my life and the memories I have made. Although it is not the same as losing any of your senses. Knowing that I will not be able to see their faces, hear their voices, feel their warm hugs, and smell their cologne is something I did not take for granted until I had realized what I lost. Another experience that made realize how grateful I was, was when I moved away from home for college. I am from Northern California, I live on the ocean surrounded by mountains and redwood trees. Now here I am living 2,000 miles away from home where everything is different. I am surrounded by strange people and it has all made me embrace the beautiful place I call home. The taste of the crisp air off the ocean, the image of the sun setting through the trees, and the faces of all those that I love knowing that all I have is memories and that I won’t see them for another 5 months. It’s not the same as not being able to see every day, but for me it is, and it made me realize not to take everything for granted.
One of my favorite lines in Keller’s essay reads, “Only the deaf appreciate hearing. Only the blind realizes the blessing that lies in light” (page 1). Now this may be my favorite line but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. Many of us that do have sight and hearing still appreciate those things. I appreciate the beauty our world has to offer through photography. For me it is being able to capture the sun rising over a barn or the detail in a new born lamb’s eyes or the texture of the redwood bark on a tree, or the emotion in someone’s face. Sight is a beautiful gift and I think that we as humans do take it for granted but that we appreciate the things that give us a reason to see the beauty within. Now hearing is slightly different, many of us don’t appreciate this but I believe we all have those moments where we do. Whether it is hearing your child say its first word or that one song that makes the whole world stop or even sitting on the porch drinking coffee in the morning listening to the birds sing. Everyone appreciates hearing at certain times but they do not realize it until it is gone.
Hellen Keller was a woman who understood life’s challenges and, in her essay, “Three Days to See” she explains her thoughts on how we should live everyday like it is our last. I agree with what Keller is saying in her essay about not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, but I also disagree with the idea of how she believes that only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the blessing that lies in light. Overall, Keller’s essay is a very strong piece and I think that her message she is trying to make throughout the essay is clear to those who take a moment to understand life’s gifts.
Description of Helen Keller’s Life in the Miracle Worker
In 1962, William Gibson participated along with Arthur Penn in the film, The Miracle Worker, where Helen Keller, the main character, becomes deaf and blind due to an illness she contracted during her first years of life. The doctor that treated her couldn’t find a cure to her illness which led to the horrific outcome. Helen never felt the dramatic change because she was too young to remember what was actually hearing and seeing. However, a positive effect was that Helen’s brain rewired to adapt the other senses, smell, touch, and taste, to be dominant in her daily life, in other terms her brain plasticity was exceptional. She demonstrates to the viewers that she is extremely intelligent due to the fact that in order to understand and communicate with world she has to associate every aspect of it only with three senses. As shown by the film, in order to move around Helen had to touch her surroundings to feel safe or at least know where she was. Also, she would use certain movements to interact with her parents, such as caressing her cheek to call for her mother. This gesture was essential to her because Helen would only feel safe when her mother was around, she knew that the only person who truly satisfied her needs was her mother. Nonetheless, she uses her hands to recognize people, either by touching their faces or by grabbing their clothes. Usually, to calm her down her mother would offer her cake, Helen would grab the cake and smell it to assure that it was her treat.
Certainly, Helen needed medical treatment that would help her interact with people in a more educated way. Unfortunately, disabled people were misunderstood and underestimated. Helen didn’t have any helpful treatment before Mrs. Sullivan came; her parents were planning to put her in an asylum were she would receive the “proper” care. However, an ultimate mistake that the parents made was to please her no matter what she did. The parents never taught her how to act properly during meal time so she would go around and eat everything she pleased. If by any chance someone would try to stop her ways she would create huge tantrums to have things done her way; Mrs. Keller would give her a treat so she would relax. This how the Keller family raised their kid, most likely they felt pity for her and let her do whatever she wanted. In contrast, Ms. Sullivan did not believe in pity, she knew that Helen was as able as any other kid of her age. Ms. Sullivan’s first lesson was to make Helen understand that she wasn’t a queen, she had to follow orders too. As an example, the first time the family had a supper together Ms. Sullivan wouldn’t tolerate Helen’s behavior during such an important time. She got everyone out the dining room and forced Helen to comprehend that during supper she would have to sit down, eat with silverware, and especially fold her napkin! After several tries, Helen realized that the only way to stop the reinforcement Ms. Sullivan was giving her was to obey her rules.
As far as parenting styles, Helen’s parents were permissive in every aspect of the word. They would care for her but they had zero expectations from Helen, which led to her attitude towards everything. One of the very first parts were we can see how her parents react is when she was playing in the living room, while playing she decided to grab the baby cradle and flip it when the baby was inside. The first reaction of her dad was to discipline Helen to not do that again but her mom stopped him and told him that she is not able to understand what she just did. This shows perfectly how permissive her parents, especially her mother, were. In the other hand, Ms. Sullivan was more on the authoritative side, which is the perfect balance to educate a child. She decided that in order to change Helen’s mindset she would have to take her away from her comfort zone, her house. Firstly, Helen had massive tantrums because she wouldn’t recognize the place she was in, she felt insecure. She would caress her cheek to call for her mother because she was the only one who made her feel safe but all of her cries weren’t successful. Then, she let Ms. Sullivan teach her how to properly act on a daily basis.
As stated by Saul McLeod, operant conditioning is “intentional actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment.” Operant conditioning includes positive reinforcement, meaning that after a certain behavior there is a reward, and negative reinforcement, which means that after experiencing something awful you will change the way you respond to avoid the bad stimulus. By using this technique Ms. Sullivan taught Helen how to behave correctly and learned sign language. Nevertheless, this process was not easy because Ms. Sullivan had to find a way to make Helen understand that what she touched had a word (gesture) in sign language. This is what we call associative learning, “stat[ing] that the act of remembering… any past experience would also bring to the fore other events or experiences that had become related.” (Britannica) At first, Helen couldn’t understand what she was doing, she would feel the object, person or action and Ms. Sullivan would spell out the word for her to learn. Ms. Sullivan realized that after many tries Helen was only imitating her and not truly understanding her actions. But Ms. Sullivan didn’t give up, through positive and negative reinforcement she worked with Helen. In the movie, we see how Ms. Sullivan uses the cake as positive reinforcement. She would make Helen feel, teach her the word and whenever she would get it right she would receiver her piece of cake. Moreover, negative reinforcement is also seen when