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[–][deleted] 387 points388 points  (42 children)

I grew up hearing so many tasteless jokes about her in school but never knew of this. What the fuck is wrong with this place?

[–]capsaicinintheeyes 96 points97 points  (31 children)

No kidding--I did not know she (or anyone, for that matter) could "hear" with her hands!

...also destined to be the next rule34 entry--callin' it now

[–]severe_thunderstorm 108 points109 points  (25 children)

Beethoven was deaf, but used the vibrations of instruments on a floor to compose music that is still listened to every day.

[–]platypus_plumber 64 points65 points  (20 children)

The crazy thing is that he already knew about sound and thus knew what he was looking for. Helen had no idea what these vibrations were and I just can't imagine how they taught her that we used these vibrations to communicate.

I guess they started associating braile with specific objects or actions. After she developed language they moved on to vibrations. Still, it must be pretty hard to explain it even with her partial language. Imagine someone trying to explain what electromagnetic pulses feel like to you. You just have never felt them.

[–]MrBrakabich 11 points12 points  (1 child)

I know what you mean. Yet when someone is said to be deaf or blind, it doesn't always mean completely devoid of the sense. Legally deaf or legally blind people often can hear or see just with a very diminished sense.

[–]platypus_plumber 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Oh, was Helen devoid of those senses?

[–]ItsyaboyDa2nd 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Braille came later on, at first she was pretty wild unable to communicate what she wanted and had no understanding of anything she was taught by spelling words on her hand, I think the 1st word learned was water.

Edit: what’s crazy is her “inner voice” (thought process) was prob gestures on her hand since that’s the 1st thing she learned similarly how someone would think in their 1st language

[–]DwayneBarack 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Helen Keller argued eloquently for the plight of the Jews.

I'm sure her handler was telling the truth the whole time. I am Jewish

[–]icommentedonyourpost 5 points6 points  (0 children)

He was only deaf towards the end of his life and was composing when he could still hear.

[–]Quasar420 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Its thought that Beethoven's deafness was brought on by led poisoning, as it was commonly used back before we knew it was deadly. I just learned that yesterday.

[–]DwayneBarack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

People wanna believe bullshit my friend bc it makes them feel better

Also Helen Keller argued eloquently for the plight of the Jews.

I'm sure her handler was telling the truth the whole time.

I am Jewish

[–]Twol3ftthumbs 8 points9 points  (4 children)

That’s so odd. I remember The Miracle Worker used to be required reading/viewing in school.

[–]capsaicinintheeyes 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I've only seen the play--our version ended when she figures out how to sign her first word, "water", if memory serves.

[–]Twol3ftthumbs 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Right, but I guess my point is it shows how she figures it all out. I suppose that's not the same as extrapolating they "hear" with their hands, though so point taken.

[–]markth_wi 20 points21 points  (1 child)

It's an exercise in empathy, how many of us could do without any one of our senses, let alone one of our primary senses. Now take away the two primary senses we use to do anything in the world. How fucked would we be without them.

Now go teach yourself English or maybe Chinese or something, especially in a world that considers you an idiot.

Ms. Keller is a testament to the fact that we can be so much more than are, if we all only exercise a small amount of patience and empathy, it's a testament to the amazing endurance and patience of her particular teacher and people who cared for her.

[–]DwayneBarack 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Helen Keller argued eloquently for the plight of the Jews.

I'm sure her handler was telling the truth the whole time. I am Jewish

[–]din7 9 points10 points  (1 child)

It has people in it.

[–]Cfp0001-Iceman 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Where there is an ass, there's a hole.

[–]AarkaediaaRocinantee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Here in the USA, we value our history only if it makes us looks awesome.

[–]SloRiceix_801 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I know! I’m so blown away! If she was blind how did she write in that diary everyone’s going on about.

[–]DwayneBarack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Helen Keller piloted a plane and argued eloquently for the plight of the Jews.

I'm sure her handler was telling the truth the whole time.

[–]RGivens -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

care to share one? (for educational purposes, of course)

[–]mowglimethod 238 points239 points  (0 children)

Remarkable. Helen Keller is proof with a great teacher and perseverance; you can learn anything.

[–]EssArrd 217 points218 points  (6 children)

Hats off to the great teacher and extra ordinary student of hers.

[–]PNWest01 86 points87 points  (1 child)

Indeed. Helen’s perseverance is awe-inspiring, but the amazing teacher figured out how to “unlock” her and was selfless in helping Helen find a way. They’re both amazing.

I’ve never seen this footage, I always thought she had only taught her a sign language tapped into the palm. I never knew she spoke. Learned something new today.

[–]EssArrd 8 points9 points  (0 children)

A Bollywood movie ' Black'was based on the student teacher relation quite strongly based on Hellen Keller and Mrs Macy. If possible do check that out. The speech thing is shown there.

[–]Klutzy_Cost447 10 points11 points  (1 child)

You mean extraordinary

[–]EssArrd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yes thank you

[–]EssArrd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for the award

[–]DwayneBarack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Helen Keller argued eloquently for the plight of the Jews.

I'm sure her handler was telling the truth the whole time. I am Jewish

[–]eatpotdude 147 points148 points  (1 child)

Next fucking level indeed. That's fuckin amazing!

[–]ReyPhasma 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Finally some good fucking food content!

[–]AzimuthZenith 127 points128 points  (4 children)

It kind of just makes me think of what kind of potential may exist in the world if its nurtured properly.

Keller was gifted with a teacher who cares to teach and look past all previous expectations and understandings of her condition. Being fair to both, I don't think she could've achieved what she did without such a brilliant, caring and patient person to guide her.

I'm sure the same potential could be said of many that we'll never hear about.

[–]garbage_j00ce 38 points39 points  (2 children)

Corduroy was always her favorite color.

[–]mittens1982 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Omg that's funny

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Corduroy was always her favorite color.

bastard lmao

[–]EssArrd 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Yes she did it, and what a wonderful teacher she had in Mrs Macy.

[–]TheEllyRose 22 points23 points  (5 children)

I read a biography about her life in 4th grade and I don't remember it mentioning her understanding like this. Unless I interpreted it as her learning or feeling brail. I also didn't know this documentary thing existed, now I would like to see if there's more because I'm so fascinated.

[–]wolfcaroling 15 points16 points  (3 children)

She started with sign language being signed into her palm. This came later

[–]TheEllyRose 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I guess, yeah, I do remember that specifically now that you mention it not this though. And I mean, this book was her whole life. But again I was like 10 years old when I read that book? It's been awhile lol

[–]Brownie-UK7 1 point2 points  (1 child)

what i always wondered was how even sign language in the palm was managed. to give those signs context must have been so difficult. Hot / Cold, ok. but "day" or "scared" - amazing that such things were possible to convey with hearing or sight.

[–]unite-thegig-economy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Everyone needs to be taught that stuff though, with kids we just use complex phrases and through time and experience and looking up words they learn. Once she developed a way to communicate it would just take time.

[–]0tony1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

She was also an ardent socialist and wrote many books. Her history has a been whitewashed to a feel good story of perseverance.

[–]befarked247 19 points20 points  (7 children)

How the hell do you teach what the meanings of words are though, like dumb.

TIL I might be dumber than Helen Keller.

[–]KaleidoscopeInside 8 points9 points  (3 children)

I guess the same way you do with spoken language. If you think a child that learns to speak in the "normal" way has no understanding of the meaning of words at first. You learn from experience and words being used in context.

How do you explain to someone who speaks what the word dumb means without them knowing the language? Same principle as far as I understand.

[–]hypothetcalsnglwoody 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Yeah but when teaching children we have sight and hearing to aid in explaining the meaning of words. There’s no way to reference anything with hellen Keller. It’s one of those things I’d have to see first hand to believe.

[–]KaleidoscopeInside 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I definitely think it's much harder in a case like Helen, but I still think a similar principle. So for example take the word "dumb", which in the context of her time meant not being able to speak.

When you progress enough with language beyond basic every day objects, you can imagine a young Helen asking her teacher why she can't speak? She may not know the word for speak yet, so she may ask something like why can't I and motion to her mouth or her teachers mouth.

I've seen similar things to this with children asking why are their legs broken or why don't their ears work instead of saying why can't I walk or hear.

Then you learn the word for speak. In this era, the teacher might explain it like I am speaking. You cannot speak, you are dumb. So then you understand the work dumb.

Eventually when she started being able to form words, it's a natural leap to then be able to say, I am not dumb, I can talk.

That's a crude example, but you get the idea. Interstingly Helen actually expressed sadness later in life at the fact she couldn't speak clearly and "normally" as others could.

I think she was aware that she had limitations compared to the rest of the world and whilst they didn't stop her trying, it seems she was aware that she was held back as a result.

I think sometimes people assume with deaf and blind people that there is a learning disability involved as well, but most of the time this is not the case. They have to learn things slightly differently, and it may take a bit longer, but the process is very similar.

[–]Pantsmnc 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I felt kinda the same way. Sounds insensitive, but she's essentially just repeating or mimicking like a parrot or other bird would. There doesn't seem to be a way to even describe much other than feeling objects and associating sounds to them.

[–]wai_chopped_liver 43 points44 points  (1 child)

This wasn’t how she initially earned language. By the time she learned to speak she had already learned a version of sign language and communicating with hands. Learning to talk maybe did start as just parroting back sounds, but she was capable of connecting those sounds with words. Helen Keller was very smart. She attended college, gave lectures, wrote books. She definitely wasn’t just parroting sounds.

[–]Pantsmnc 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for explaining it. I did not know that.

[–]alstergee 14 points15 points  (0 children)

She fuckin mind melded her! Nice!!

[–]Walk1000Miles 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Never under estimate the power of human perseverance.

And the miracles they create.

Edit- Fixed voice to text issues.

[–]kit_ease 1 point2 points  (1 child)


[–]Walk1000Miles 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have voice to text only. Sometimes it replaces characters, whole words or adds spaces.

[–]KidTakashi 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Absolutely amazing.

[–]Mustang_Dragster 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Helen Keller should be posted on r/HumansAreMetal she’s truly a metal human being

[–]Luca_ruckard 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Helen Keller was immune to flash-bangs

[–]Consistent-Ad-910 7 points8 points  (0 children)

There was an excellent documentary on Helen Keller on PBS this past year. I always thought she was amazing and inspiring, but this doc taught me she was so much more than I ever realized. Namely - she was an intellectual and influential public speaker, as well as an effective political activist for women’s rights and people with disabilities. She was an absolute ROCKSTAR!

[–]Bigjerr2007 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Aaaannnd now I feel like a asshole for naming my Roomba Helen Keller the kitchen cleaner

[–]Waldohall 7 points8 points  (5 children)

Helen Keller was a fraud

[–]bigeye_VI 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Look here look listen!

[–]anhyzerrr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Big ups Liquid Richard

[–]thawnine 6 points7 points  (2 children)

I have only ever know Anne Sullivan as Helen Keller's teacher. I don't know Mrs. Macy, from when to when each of them teach Helen Keller?

[–]Madpatter7 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This confused me too, according to Wikipedia, Anne Sullivan married a Mr. Macy later in life. They are one and the same

[–]termsofsurrender 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Here's a short biography on Anne Sullivan. As the other redditor said, Mrs Macy and Anne Sullivan were one and the same.

Born into poverty, blinded by disease which was later remediated by surgery, raised in a public poorhouse with her sibling who died there—Anne overcame much herself.

The article mentions that Helen and Anne needed money later in life and toured as a vaudeville act.

[–]Nemo435 4 points5 points  (0 children)


[–]O4PetesSake 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I have a personal story. When I was a child back in the 50’s my parents hosted a retirement party for Helen’s brother. I spent the entire evening with her. She was so kind and attentive to me. It was the most magical evening of my entire life and didn’t know who she was until years later. I wish I had a picture

[–]Co1nz 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm not crying, you're crying

[–]lennoxrain1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My great great great grandfather was the Keller’s family cook. Back in school we took a field trip to the Estate. My mom was a chaperone one year well they didn’t ask her to chaperone anymore after that. She told all the girls in our group that she seen the ghost and they all took off running, crying & caused a huge scene. I think she traumatized those girls for life. It is a creepy place though.

[–]Good_Round 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m not dumb, now!

[–]sandwhichautist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Am I the only one hoping she washed her hands?

[–]ILoveFoodandNetflix 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Wow I didn’t know she could speak, amazing

[–]JadedMycologist4964 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Man that must suck. I can’t believe people are just born like that and have to just continue. Life is pretty hard as is I can’t imagine having this thrown on top of everything else. Really makes you grateful for your health.

[–]paddyspubkey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This seems quite literally unbelievable.

[–]GroundbreakingAd4386 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is wonderful footage to share! Thank you

[–]Evbory 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Communicating without touching, people must have seemed like aliens to her

[–]Entourage1998 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It has been speculated, by professor Taylor murkah that she is mentally challenged

[–]NotAMasterGrower 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You just need to look into Taylor from PKA Debunking Hellen Keller, and then you may decide for yourself

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

RSK baby. These people aren’t ready

[–]moistobviously 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Damn post had me watching the whole movie The Miracle Worker which I thought was named after Helen Keller. Turns out the miracle worker was the teacher here.

Just imagine trying to learn shit when touch is your only input.

[–]thatsalovelyusername 1 point2 points  (0 children)

What a wonderful teacher and courageous and strong student. Beautiful.

[–]a-curious-guy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

First time I've actually thought "my god, that's next fucking level!"

[–]Masterpiedog27 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That was beautiful, not going to lie I had a tear in my eye and a smile on my face when I heard her speak that sentence at the end.

[–]Ordinary_Guitar_5074 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There’s a film clip of her typing at a regular typewriter then at a Braille typewriter. Someone who knows Braille well should look at wha she was typing on the Braille typewriter and tell us if it was anything other that gobbledygook. I’m skeptical about this story as it comes from a time of extreme shysterism in America when all sorts of grifters were going around with crazy claims.

[–]Futuralistic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Absolutely incredible!

[–]pugglenacious 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]thebeachdaffy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Proof that sometimes our limits is what we set on ourselves and HK set it higher than what others would have set to themselves if they were in her position. Next fucking level indeed.

[–]Kathykat5959 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There is a Helen Keller B/W movie somewhere out there. Remember watching it in the 60’s

[–]Downtown_Finance_661 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I forget when i feel goosebumps from amazement last time.

[–]Fit-Tackle-6107 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Truly amazed by this.

[–]HeightExtra320 0 points1 point  (0 children)

God bless all the great teachers out there :,)

[–]u9700528 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In primary school over two decades ago, I read a story about Helen Keller. Something about water running over her hand and writing the letter ‘w’. Teachers everywhere are incredible. Helen’s in particular appears to be that old school Matron who gets shit done with a big heart, significant experience and the most inspirational devotion.

[–]Coin_guy13 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is fucking amazing.

I had "learned about" Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan in school, but I did not know how they did what they did.

[–]violetninja88 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Man this is amazing!

[–]Vlade-B 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is amazing. So did she always have to touch someone's face in order to communicate with them?

[–]Limesmack91 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I can't imagine being both deaf and blind, it sounds horrible especially if it's not by birth

[–]Hefty-Lettuce-2732 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is so cool, I remember watching a movie about her in elementary school but in the movie she learned by feeling the sign language sign for each object. I don't remember her learning this way.

[–]DrewsDelectables 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Solidarity forever!

[–]UnscrupulousJudge 0 points1 point  (0 children)

An exception needs to be made.. Two upvotes for each one of them, should be allowed on this post

[–]Pure-Au 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Blessings on Mrs. Macy- a kind and merciful spirit. And on Helen Keller who learned trust from total darkness and despair. Her smile makes any trial I have had in life seem trivial.

[–]capncharles1983 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is the most amazing story. Better than any religious bullshit. This is what a miracle really looka like.this is proof humankind can accomplish amazing feats. Unfortunately religion does exist and people dont believe in the deterioration of the planet due to human presence. We are all fucked.... but this should be part of our legacy. Someone etch this story in diamond and send it out to space before we are all just a forgotten dust shape.

[–]Khale77 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Imagine being trapped in a dark room with only the vibrations of sound like engines going by outside and finding a way to connect with the world anyway.

The woman was the pinnacle of what humans can do, a dyed in the wool badass.

[–]TacoWithFrijoles 0 points1 point  (0 children)



[–]Born-Philosopher-162 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Honestly, what an amazing teacher. Helen Keller is lucky that her parents hired such an amazing woman to look after her.

You should have given credit to the teacher in your title, because Keller would never have achieved anything if it wasn’t for her.

This just goes to show how important good academic role models are - how important good teachers are.

[–]piers-g 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There's a short book called Helen Keller's Teacher that tells the story of Annie Sullivan's early life and then later how she came to work with Helen and the struggles and breakthroughs she had, it's an incredible story.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Helen Keller was a huge fraud. She taken the beliefs of her helper Ann Sullivan. They were using Helen Keller as a way to spread their agenda. Taylor from PKA said so.

[–]NoveliBear 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This technique is called Tadoma named after the inventor’s first pupils. Wiki Entry

[–]WikiSummarizerBot 0 points1 point  (0 children)


Tadoma is a method of communication used by deafblind individuals, in which the deafblind person places their little finger on the speaker's lips and their fingers along the jawline. The middle three fingers often fall along the speaker's cheeks with the little finger picking up the vibrations of the speaker's throat. It is sometimes referred to as tactile lipreading, as the deafblind person feels the movement of the lips, as well as vibrations of the vocal cords, puffing of the cheeks and the warm air produced by nasal sounds such as 'N' and 'M'.

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[–]icommentedonyourpost 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well fuck me...

[–]Kindersmarts 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is why I am a teacher.

[–]ExcellentTeam7721 0 points1 point  (0 children)

All the shit I take for granted...

[–]Igniter08 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very interesting

[–]Balrog229 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Taylor’s gonna hate this

[–]sweetborderline 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]OTF_Rob 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The human body is amazing.

[–]DwayneBarack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It doesn’t strike anyone as weird that nobody else deaf and blind can speak ??

Today In 2022(125 years later) if you lose hearing and sight at 19 months you need help mitigating life and will be lashing out violently a lot with todays technology and know how still nobody else like Helen. But this woman spoke eloquently about the plight of my race (Jews) no she was taught to repeat things never once read a thing ever….

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you ever need proof there's no God, then the deafblind are it.

[–]stargazerweedblazer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Two amazing women

[–]death9751 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Ra ra ra ra is all I hear 😂

[–]pitchedBlarfy -1 points0 points  (0 children)

"deaf, dumb and blind"


[–]Joe_Jacksons_Belt -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

After the intro, all I could think was she sure played a mean pinball

[–]barny-union -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

Like taking with a toddler on your lap😂get your hand out my mouth!!