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The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

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What were the problems faced by Helen Keller in The Story of My Life?  

The problems faced by Helen Keller in The Story of My Life include losing her sight, hearing, and ability to speak as a toddler. Later problems included associating objects with their names, having to learn to speak again, and solving the mystery of how she had inadvertently written a short story with striking similarities to a story already published.

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An illness when she was very young left Helen Keller unable to see or hear. As a very young child, she adapted to this situation, but as she got older and her brain continued to develop, her inability to communicate on a more than a very rudimentary level became increasingly frustrating for Helen. By the time she was six, she was having at least daily temper tantrums, and her parents were worried. At this point, her biggest problem was not her blindness or deafness, but a sense of being isolated and trapped with no way to express herself.

Learning from Miss Sullivan to communicate through palm writing solved that problem, but as is often the case in life, solving one problem leads to new problems. As Helen was able to communicate with society and became a celebrity, she was almost discredited when she inadvertently plagiarized a story, creating a huge scandal. Later, as she sought more education, she faced the problem of learning in a society that had not grappled with the idea of accommodations for disability. A few books were in Braille, but as she entered Radcliffe, Helen had to rely very heavily on Miss Sullivan to provide her with a method both to take and read lecture notes and textbooks by writing their contents into her hand.

Despite all the obstacles she faced, Helen Keller was grateful at the opportunities she was offered through education and Miss Sullivan's love and friendship.

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Helen Keller faces problems of a magnitude that most of us would only contemplate in our worst nightmares. At nineteen months old, Keller suffers an illness that leaves her blind, deaf, and without any viable means of communication.

When she begins learning under the tutelage of Miss Anne Mansfield Sullivan, she initially faces another problem of not being able to connect words and objects. Sullivan helps Keller overcome this with an exercise involving running water over Keller’s hand and helping Keller to associate the sensation with the word.

Overcoming her inability to speak is another problem for Keller, and initially, her speech could only be understood by her teachers. However, hard work overcomes this problem and enables Keller to speak to her family, bringing great joy to everybody.

Keller pens a short story called “The Frost King,” and an investigation of plagiarism is launched, as her story contains remarkable similarities to another story which had been published years earlier. This problem is put to rest when Keller discovers that the story had been read to her and that she had obviously subconsciously retained the details of the story.

Helen encounters yet another problem or challenge while attending Radcliffe. Annie Sullivan experienced eye problems of her own, which it made it more difficult for her to give Helen the help that she needed.

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When Helen Keller was young, she was struck with an illness that made her blind and deaf. As a result, she found it difficult to communicate anything other than her most basic wants. To solve this problem, Keller learned from her teacher, Anne Sullivan, how to express herself by writing signs on another's palm. This process, including learning the idioms and expressions involved in everyday conversation, took many years and a great deal of practice. She also learned to speak; she had spoken before her illness as a young child but had to learn again to use her voice.

She also had to prepare to enter Radcliffe, the women's school associated with Harvard. The problem was that Anne Sullivan could not sign all the words in the books Helen Keller had to read, and the books had to be embossed in Braille, which took some time. Her studies presented obstacles, as she had to use a Braille writer at times, and she had to draw mathematical figures on a cushion with wires because she couldn't see the figures on the board. It was also difficult for her to understand the Braille symbols for numbers and figures. She eventually overcame these obstacles and was admitted to Radcliffe.

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Helen Keller faced many problems, which she recounts in her autobiography, The Story of My Life. All these problems center around being blind and deaf, which occurred when Keller was a very young child.

Initially, Helen had no language with which she could communicate to her family. She learned to talk a little before going blind and deaf due to illness, but she could no longer hear her family. This meant her behavior was often challenging. She threw temper tantrums, and her family members gave into her desires in order to avoid these. 

Annie Sullivan, her teacher, tamed the temper tantrums by not giving into them, and Sullivan worked diligently with Helen on developing language through finger spelling. Ultimately, Helen made that connection at the well, with water running over her hands. After her acquisition of language, Helen's behavior was significantly better because she was able to communicate. 

Even though Helen could communicate, she did have other challenges in her life. There was the challenge of learning about the world when she was missing two senses. Annie Sullivan had her experience as many things as possible. 

There were educational challenges. For example, Helen wanted to learn to speak. She received help from a speech specialist and did learn to use her voice. 

Helen ultimately went to Radcliffe, the sister college of Harvard. Annie Sullivan was one of the people who helped Helen "read" her text books by spelling the words into her hand. After multiple operations, though, Annie's eyes were weak, and she struggled to help Helen.

Helen Keller spent her entire life overcoming challenges and also reaching out to people and inspiring them. 

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