Helen Keller Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson will introduce you to Helen Keller, a woman who showed the world that people with disabilities can and do succeed! You will learn about her early life, her rise to fame, and the important work she did along the way.

Who Was Helen Keller?

Imagine living in a dark and silent world, unable to speak. How would you talk to people? How would you take care of yourself and learn? It may sound impossible, but a woman named Helen Adams Keller learned to do all these things and more despite being blind and deaf.

Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was 19 months old, she came down with a serious illness that left her blind and deaf. Her family thought she would never be able to learn, but she surprised them!

The Early Days

Helen's parents had a hard time raising her. They didn't know how to communicate with her or how to teach her rules and manners. Helen became a very stubborn child who threw huge tantrums when she didn't get her way.

Then, when Helen was 7 years old, her parents wrote to the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts. They wanted to know if anyone there could help Helen. The Perkins School was able to send a teacher named Anne Sullivan.

Helen met Anne Sullivan when she was 7 years old.
Helen as a child

Anne started by teaching Helen to follow rules and take care of herself. Helen didn't cooperate at first, but she eventually learned to behave.

Anne wasn't just teaching manners. She also taught Helen to understand language. She used a method of fingerspelling that involved spelling words into the palm of Helen's hand. At first, Helen didn't really understand. She copied the letters, but the words didn't mean anything to her.

Then came a breakthrough. Anne spelled the word 'water' as she allowed water to pour over Helen's hands. Suddenly, Helen understood! She quickly learned to communicate through fingerspelling.

A Special Life

Helen turned out to be a very good student. She learned to read and write in Braille, which is an alphabet of raised dots that can be felt with the fingertips. She began writing stories by the time she was 12 years old. Helen even learned to speak by feeling people's mouths and throats as they talked.

As all this was happening, Helen became famous. People were amazed that she learned so many skills. Anne Sullivan was by her side through it all, fingerspelling entire conversations into Helen's hands.

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