“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller.
Many people are familiar with ‘The Miracle Worker’ and the story of Helen Keller. She has appeared in Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures of the 20th century and during her life, rubbed shoulders with the political and literary elite. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg. At Sense, we see her as a communicator, an educator, an activist and a beacon of kindness. From the moment she understood the word ‘water’, she spent her life challenging people’s perceptions of what it means to be deafblind.Today we are celebrating Helen Keller Day. She made it her life’s work to ensure that no one was left out of life and her achievements have inspired people all over the world. We have put together some of our favourite facts about Keller.
- Helen Keller became deafblind after contracting scarlet fever at 19 months old. She started working with Anne Sullivan (who was visually impaired) to develop her communication.
- The initial lack of success did not prevent Sullivan from trying new techniques. In 1887, Sullivan supported Keller to feel water from a cup while at the same time, fingerspelling the word ‘water’. It was at this moment, that Keller understood that objects have names.
- In 1918, braille was established as the single writing system in the United States for people who were blind. This was due to the advocacy of Helen Keller.
At Sense, we support people to communicate and experience the world around them using a number of different methods including British Sign Language, hand-under-hand sign, gestures, art and music.
- In 1888, Helen attended the Perkins School for the Blind to further her education.
- In 1904, Helen Keller graduated from Radcliffe University (now part of Harvard University) to become the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts.
- Throughout her life, Helen Keller published a number of books including ‘The World I Live In’, ‘The Story Of My Life’ and ‘My Religion’
Our Sense Colleges provide a personalised approach to education where young people can communicate and express themselves in their own unique way.
- In 1924, Helen Keller began life-long work as the public spokesperson for the American Foundation for the Blind.
- In an address to the Lions Club International in 1925, Keller challenges them to become “Knights of the Blind.” The Lions have proudly continued their commitment to preventing blindness and aiding the visually impaired across the globe to this day.
- In 1952, Keller receives the Gold Medal award from The National Institute of Social Sciences for her service to humanity.
- Towards the end of World War II, Keller visited wounded and blinded war veterans in military hospitals, encouraging them to create new ambitions.
Here at Sense, we actively contribute to conversations around health and social care and recently lead on the ‘When I’m Gone’ campaign calling on the government to provide more support to primary carers when planning for the future.
Helen Keller has inspired many people, including us, to always strive for better and she has shown what can be achieved when the right support is in place. Join us and be part of our vision, find out how you can support our work by clicking here.