Culture 8, page 119
2 F A relation of one of the family servants invented a sign language with Helen. / Anne Sullivan taught Helen sign language.
3 F Helen was very unhappy and frequently got cross.
5 F The first word that Helen understood through finger-spelling was 'water.
a Helen spent 10 years at schools in Boston and New York, improving her communication skills.
b Helen decided she would apply for university.
c She graduated from Radcliffe College, becoming the first deaf-blind person to gain a degree.
d Anne Sullivan died.
e Aged 81, Helen suffered a series of strokes.
f Helen died.
In 1890 at the age of 10, Helen travelled with Anne to Boston, where she attended a school for the deaf She began speech lessons and for 25 years she worked hard to learn to speak so that other people could understand her. She spent 10 years at schools in Boston and New York, gradually improving her communication skills. Anne Sullivan sat next to her in all her classes. As well as speech and finger-spelling, Helen had by this time mastered several other methods of communication, including touch-lip reading, Braille, and typing. She also studied normal school subjects, and in 1900 Helen decided to apply for university. She wanted to go to Harvard, one of America's top universities, but Harvard didn't accept women at that time, so Helen applied for a place at Radcliffe College in Boston. Again, Anne went with her and helped her with her studies. During her time at university, Helen wrote her autobiography, called The Story of my Life. In 1904, she graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf-blind person o gain a degree.
In 1905, Anne married John Macy, a Harvard teacher. She continued to help and guide Helen, who moved in with the Macys. John and Anne separated a few years later but Helen and Anne continued to live together.
Helen was determined to help other people with disabilities and travelled widely giving talks and meeting with politicians and celebrities. She and Anne visited over 40 countries. She became a socialist, a feminist, a pacifist and fought for the rights of disabled people as well as for women's right to vote. At the time, people thought her views were really radical and extreme, but her fame spread and people read her books -she wrote 12 of them - and came to hear her speak.
Anne remained Helen's constant companion until her death in 1936. A young woman called Polly Thompson, who had worked as a secretary for Helen and Anne since 1914, then became Helen's new companion. Helen continued to travel and to write into her old age, but at the age of 81, she suffered a stroke and spent the rest of her life at her home in Connecticut. She died in 1968, just a few weeks before her 88th birthday. Helen received many awards and honours in her life and through her many speeches and books, she brought inspiration and encouragement to millions of people.
1 It took Helen 25 years to learn to speak.
2 Harvard didn't accept women at that time.
3 Helen wrote her autobiography, called The Story of my Life.
4 She was a socialist, a feminist, a pacifist and fought for the rights of disabled people as well as for women's right to vote.
5 She was nearly 88 years old.