Life: A Daring Adventure or Nothing at All

Helen Keller and Lifelong friend Eleanore Roosevelt

I read the above quote yesterday by Helen Keller and decided to put it on my face-book page.  Many of you know that Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan were two women I greatly admired. The above saying struck a note with me, and captured my vision for the future and I hope it does for you, also.

Here was this deaf, blind person who could not speak.  She had an excellent model, Ann Sullivan.  Somehow the chemistry between the two enabled Helen to become one of the most revered women in America and around the world.  Ann Sullivan studied how to teach deaf children in college, and when she graduated found a job with the Keller family.  The relationship that started when Helen was just a girl lasted for years, and not only was Annie Sullivan Helens’s mentor, but she also became a life-long friend.  Imagine what it must have been like to teach a blind, deaf and mute girl to talk, read, and write.  I’d say it was quite daring, and adventuresome!  Back in those days parents would send their children off to private schools if they had difficulty hearing, speaking or learning.  Somehow the Keller’s hired Annie Sullivan.

Many of you know I have written about Helen Keller before.  A MENTOR, or teacher can help transform a  person who has multiple handicaps into a vibrant individual who is curious, adventurous, always learning, and involved in society.

The human being, no matter what the disability or difficulty can often overcome it in one way or another with the love and support of a Mentor, Teacher, Family Member or Friend.

That is the reason why I wrote The Teaching of Talking.  I know that a support system, with disciplined stimulation on a daily basis is crucial to overcoming  speech, language and learning difficulties.

Even at the end of her life, Helen Keller’s speech was not perfect and had a tendency to sound somewhat nasal and “deaf-like.”  However she could communicate and be understood, wrote articles and books and inspirational articles to help people realize that life can be an adventure in spite of adversity, and to always try harder, do more, and keep learning and achieving.

One of the most amazing things about Helen Keller was that she did not allow her blindness, deafness or speaking difficulty stop her from doing the things people who could “see” did.  She learned to ride horses, swim, play a number of games, write, read, and give guest lectures around the world.

She did not let a disability stop her from living; becoming an adventurer, and student of new experiences.  She pushed herself to do the things everyone else could do.  Wouldn’t it be inspiring to catch Helen’s spirit?  If you have not as yet, let’s get started, together.

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About Mark Ittleman

Mark Ittleman is a Senior Speech Language Pathologist and serves those with moderate to profound speaking difficulties. He consults with many of the best rehabilitation hospitals and now travels the country with his wife, and lectures at Universities, Hospitals, and Aphasia Organizations. He also consults with people all over the world with speaking difficulties and their families.
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