Saturday, May 02, 2009

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer

“By the time Laura Bridgman was twelve years old, she was … famous. Like all children, you would have loved an admired her. You would have named your favorite dool after her. . . . And then you would have poked out the doll’s eyes.” (xi)

Almost everyone has heard of Helen Keller, the deaf-blind child who finally understood words after her teacher placed her hand under running water. But this is the lesser known story of Laura Bridgman, who was born 50 years before Helen Keller. Laura, like Helen, was born with all her senses. At three years old, Helen and her two sisters contracted scarlett fever. While her sisters died from the disease, Helen survived but lost her vision and hearing, along with most of her senses of taste and smell. Left only with touch, Laura was patiently taught to navigate the world around her. Written by someone who is also considered a deaf-blind person, Sally Hobart Alexander provides a unique perspective of this little known trailblazer in She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer.

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