What is Ms. Sullivans rationale behind her strategy of encouraging Helen to spell out the letters of objects in her enviornment?

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

   Because Helen could not see the letters nor hear the sounds of words, she had no concept that objects had names.  By using a touch system with objects in her environment, Anne was attempting to make the connection between the object and the word.  As Anne spelt the same word into Helen's hand each time she touched the object, she hoped that Helen would eventually make the connection that the spelling in her hand was the name of that object.  Once Helen made that connection she could begin to truly communicate with the outside world. 

brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because Helen had been deaf and blind for most of her life, she had never developed a connection between objects and words; therefore, Ms. Sullivan's rationale behind her strategy of encouraging her to spell out letters of objects in her environment was to help her develop that connection and to understand its existence.  Once Helen developed this understanding, Ms. Sullivan's way would be cleared to communicate with her and teach her to communicate with others.  Hope this helps.  Brenda

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The Miracle Worker

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