Helen Keller Biography Helen Keller Biography By VSA Student, Grade 3 Sight and sound are some of our most important senses. Without them, we sometimes have trouble doing things in our lives. But a brave, determined woman named Helen Keller, who could not see or hear, fought against her disabilities with her patient teacher Anne Mayfield Sullivan. Helen Keller was born in Ivy Green, Alabama in 1880. At age 2, she contracted scarlet fever. After recovering from scarlet fever, her mother, Kate Adams Keller, found out that Helen didn’t react the same way she had before to sounds and sights. So Mr. Keller and Mrs. Keller, worried about Helen and her disabilities, hired a teacher from the Perkin’s School For the Blind. In 1886, Helen’s teacher, Miss Anne Mayfield Sullivan, arrived at Ivy Green. Miss Sullivan was partly blind, so she knew what it felt like, not being able to see or hear, and how frustrating it could be. Miss Sullivan started working with Helen right away. She tried to teach Helen letters by making the signs for the letters in Helen’s hand, but Helen didn’t understand that the letters formed words. Young Helen was frustrated and miserable because she felt trapped, not being able to see or hear, and having to learn new things and strange symbols when she is blind & deaf (because she got scarlet fever as a baby, she hadn’t learned her social and communication skills yet). Miss Sullivan was just as frustrated and tired, but she was determined. She had gone through many hard years herself, and she wouldn’t let Helen down. One day, Miss Sullivan and Helen were taking a stroll when they passed the water pump. Miss Sullivan suddenly had an idea. She gently put Helen’s hand under the pump, and let her feel the water. Then she spelled the word W-A-T-E-R in Helen’s hand. Helen looked confused at first, but then Miss Sullivan spelled the word W-A-T-E-R more quickly. Helen’s face lit up with joy. She finally understood that the letters formed the word ‘water’. Afterwards, Helen and Miss Sullivan headed back to the house to learn more words. Later on, Helen Keller learned more and more words, and she even attended Harvard University for college. Helen became an activist. Years later, Helen traveled all over the world, visiting countries and helping & supporting blind and deaf people who suffered just like her (and she’s reminded of those hard days back so many years ago), with her beloved teacher Anne Mayfield Sullivan at her side.