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The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

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During the first few months after her teacher's arrival, how did Helen get to know about many things around her and how did she communicate with others?

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After weeks of perseverance and many attempts, Miss Sullivan was able to teach Helen the connection between words and objects.  She taught her young student that everything had a name.  This opened up Helen's mind to a whole new world.  Helen herself described this time as her "soul's sudden awakening."  She learned about new ways of communication.  After learning that everything had a name, "every object which [she] touched seemed to quiver with life."  

Helen asked her teacher what different objects were called.  Miss Sullivan spelled the name of each object into Helen's hand.  Helen soon learned how to communicate with others using the manual alphabet, or finger spelling.  Some of Helen's family members and friends also learned to communicate with her using the manual alphabet.  Helen still had struggles, however.  She had spent nearly seven years of her life with limited communication skills.  It was a tedious process to learn how to fully communicate, and the

... process was continued for several years; for the deaf child does not learn in a month, or even in two or three years, the numberless idioms and expressions used in the simplest daily intercourse.  The little hearing child learns these from constant repetition and imitation.  The conversation he hears in his home stimulates his mind and suggests topics and calls forth the spontaneous expression of his own thoughts.

Despite being faced with these challenges, Helen eventually learned idioms and expressions.  She became a highly educated woman in her life.

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