ASL University | Bookstore | Catalog | Dictionary | Lessons | Resources | Syllabi | Library

Deaf People: Helen Keller

Tanya Zaricor


Helen Keller

            Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia Alabama. She suffered from a very high fever when she was two years old that left her blind and deaf. A remarkable teacher came to help her when she was seven years old named Annie Sullivan. They became family from that year on and they were with each other at the end of their lives. With the help of Annie, Helen had made up more than sixty signs that her family could understand (Biography of Helen Keller, 2007, paragraph 2).

Annie continued to teach Helen how to use sign to understand the world around her. She even taught her how to talk with the Tadoma method. The Tadoma method is a method that practices feeling the throat and lips of other people as they are talking and mimicking that movement. She also learned Greek, Latin, French and German in Braille

(American Foundation for the Blind, 2007, paragraph 4).

Helen was accepted to Radcliff College in 1900 and graduated in 1904. This made her the first Deaf and blind person to graduate from college. After college she became more and more famous based on her work as an author and as an advocate for people with disabilities. She was a strong supporter of the suffrage movement, advocated for birth control and was a pacifist. At the end of her life in 1968 when she was 87 she had completed twelve books (Biography of Helen Keller, 2007, paragraph 3 & 4).   



American Foundation for the Blind.  (2007) Helen Keller Biography, [Online]. Available: (May 3, 2007).

Crouch, Barry A. &  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Van Cleve, John V. (1989). A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America. Washington, D.C. Gallaudet University Press.

Foster, Ray. (2001). Laurent Clerc,  [Online]. Available: (May, 3 2007).

HKSB: Biography of Helen Keller, [Online]. Available: (April 19, 2007).

IMDB. (1990-2007). Biography of Marlee Matlin. [Online]. Available: (May 31, 2007).

Marlee Matlin Biography & Filmography, [Online]. Available: (May 10, 2007).