In The Story of My Life, what were the difficulties faced by Helen in the Cambridge school?

Expert Answers
teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Keller attended the Cambridge School to prepare for college, it, like most schools during that time period, had little experience in making accommodations for special needs students like Keller.

Although she was in many ways well prepared academically, Keller's disabilities nevertheless left her at a disadvantage. She had to take the added step of preparing her Latin in Braille so that she could recite her lessons aloud in class. She was unable to take notes or do in-class assignments, so she had to take extra time to type up notes and in-class exercises after she got home, adding to her workload. It was difficult for her to get the raised print textbooks she needed, and therefore she had to rely on Miss Sullivan to read for her all the books she couldn't buy in a usable format. Miss Sullivan had to attend class with Keller and write into her hand what was said. Despite the extra challenges, Keller enjoyed attending the school and interacting with other students. Because she was highly motivated and because the school was supportive of her, her difficulties were not insurmountable.

mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Starting in 1896, Helen Keller attended Cambridge, an all girls school.  She went to Cambridge to prepare for Radcliffe College.  Cambridge was a school with no prior special accommodations for deaf or blind students.  Though Miss Sullivan accompanied Helen at the school, there were too many words between homework and classwork for her to spell everything into her student's hand.  Additionally, "it was very difficult to have text-books embossed in time" for Helen to use for school.  These embossed books featured raised letters that Helen could read.  Because the length and amount of books assigned, finger spelling was out of the question.  Helen could not take in class notes.  Instead, she typed everything on her typewriter later.  However, Miss Sullivan was able to finger spell the teachers' lectures into Helen's hand.  This was exhausting for Miss Sullivan.  A couple of instructors at the school also learned to finger spell so they could help Helen.  

Read the study guide:
The Story of My Life

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question