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-3. HELEN KELLER (1880-1968)

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880. Nineteen months later , she had a severe illness that, left her blind and deaf. Her parents had hope for her. They had read Charles Dickens' report of the aid given to another blind and deaf girl, Laura Bridgman. When Helen was 6 years old, her parents took her to see Alexander Graham Bell, famed teacher of the deaf and inventor of the telephone. As a result of his advice, Anne Mansfield Sullivan began to teach Helen in 1887. Until her death in 1936, she remained Helen's teacher and constant companion. Sullivan had been almost blind in early life, but her sight had been partially restored. Helen soon learnt the finger-tip, or manual, alphabet as well as Braille — a system of writing for blind people, using raised dots which can be read by touch. By placing her sensitive fingers on the lips and throat of her teachers, she felt their motions and learnt to "hear" them speak. Three years after mastering the manual alphabet, she learnt to speak herself. "Once I knew only darkness and stillness. . . . My life was without past or future. . . . But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leapt to the rapture of living." This is how Helen Keller described the beginning of her "new life" when, despite blindness and deafness, she learnt to communicate with others.

According to the passage one of the things which encouraged Helen's parents to think positively about their daughter's future was ....... .

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