For Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, I am celebrating the amazing lives of Helen Keller and her teacher and lifelong companion Anne Sullivan.
When I was in grade school, Helen Keller fascinated me. I can’t tell you how many times I read my Scholastic book of her story. Reflecting back on that fascination, I am sure it has to do with my being an Enneagram Type 6. I could imagine and empathize with how it must have been for her to navigate the world in complete darkness… in complete silence… with the two senses I most rely on being completely inaccessible. These thoughts truly terrified my young self…. And yet, her story is so inspiring… even obligating. Everything that she was able to overcome, everything that she was able to accomplish. If young Helen Keller could do all that, then certainly my privileged, able self is obligated to put in the effort to be my best. Helen Keller gave me courage to be my best self.
March is Developmental Disability Awareness month.
And here I would like to acknowledge another important person in Helen Keller’s journey, Anne Sullivan, her teacher and life-long companion. Sullivan patiently nurtured Keller to become a prolific author and activist touring the world to help those with disabilities. Both Sullivan and Keller recognized the potential of all humans to fully contribute given right support.
The movie Crip Camp was released last year telling the story of the fight for the American’s with Disabilities Act. I strongly recommend you watch this inspirational story. I hope that you, like I, come away feeling a sense of pride for how that law has extended civil rights to those with disabilities. And I close with the words of one of Helen Keller’s inspirational figures, Mahatma Gandhi who said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
Thanks for listening.
Crip Camp Documentary:
Helen Keller essay on Mahatma Gandhi: