Thursday, January 15, 2009
She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander
This biography of Laura Bridgman was fascinating. Years before Helen Keller became famous for her accomplishments, Laura went blind and deaf at the age of two. At that time no one had ever taught someone to read and communicate who had both of these disabilities. Laura was lonely and hard to deal with until she was sent away to a blind school to learn from Dr. Howe. She learned finger spelling quickly and from there the world was opened up to her. According to this book she was one of the most famous people in the U.S. in the early 1800s. She showed the world that all people, no matter what their challenges, should be given the opportunity to learn and live a meaningful life. The techniques Dr. Howe developed with Laura went on to be used with Helen Keller and many others after her. One of the book's authors is herself blind and deaf and in the final chapter she explains how life is different for people today with these disabilities. This book flowed well, was easy to understand, and could be appreciated by readers in 5th grade on up through adults. Recommended for people who like to read about people overcoming big challenges.