She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman Deaf - Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander is a biography written at a level that most upper elementary students could read and understand. Laura Bridgman was the woman that cleared the path for Helen Keller, in fact, I learned from this book that she taught sign language to Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher.
Laura was one of the first two students to study at what would become the famous Perkins School for the Blind. Her teacher Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe met Laura and was so taken by her intelligence and curiosity that he took her to Boston to begin testing some of his theories on educating the handicapped. He was so successful with her that his school grew into the facility that we are all familiar with today. While Helen Keller may be the most famous student, Laura Bridgman was quite possibly its most important. Without her eventual willingness to learn and try new things there most likely would not have been a Perkins School for Helen Keller to attend.
The book is well written and full of information that I was not familiar with. As far as biographies go, its good, but I think I was most impressed with the information shared at the end. The author, Sally Hobart Alexander, is blind and hearing impaired. She shares how multi-handicapped people cope in our world today. I especially like the way in which she compares what her life is like to the life of Laura Bridgman in the 1800s.
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