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The Moment Helen Keller Discovered Language

Insights from Helen Keller on the moment she discovered language.

The Moment Helen Keller Discovered Language

At just 19 months old, Helen Keller became deaf and blind from an unknown illness. Helen was born in 1880, a time with little support for people with disability. But she triumphed at life. Helen was the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree and became a successful author, political activist and lecturer. All of this was possible because she was given the gift of language.

Here is that moment of discovery, with her teacher Anne Sullivan, in Helen’s own words…

“As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten–-a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.”

Accessibility ASL AUSL Deaf Hard of Hearing Sign Language

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