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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since you included "describing words" as one of your tags, I assume you have an assignment to write your own description of Helen Keller's childhood. One of the first decisions you will need to make is what ages you are going to include in your paper.

Prior to her illness, Helen was apparently a healthy, normal, active infant and toddler. Suffering the loss of sight and hearing at nineteen months of age, a period when learning and communication based on observation and imitation is proceeding at an explosive rate for most youngsters, brought about a radically changed existence for Helen.  Her struggles to communicate and to make herself understood must have been enormously frustrating to her and to her family. That she gave vent to those frustrations through tantrums is not surprising.

The arrival of Annie Sullivan, shortly before Helen's seventh birthday, introduced an expectation of discipline that was new, confusing, and unwelcome at first for a willful Helen who couldn't understand why things had changed. With time and increased understanding, however, Helen and Annie began to develop the communication that allowed Helen to reestablish contact with the surrounding world. She became consumed with curiosity, eager to explore and learn about all that had been so mystifying when she had no one to explain it to her.

Read the study guide:
The Story of My Life

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