Sunday, February 06, 2005

Flash from the Past: Helen Keller and Different Ways of Sensing

Other senses become keener with deprivation, and for Helen Keller, touch, proprioceptive sense, and smell became essential modes of communicating with and sensing others. From Anne Sullivan's writings: "Her sense of touc has sensibly increased during the year, and has gained in acuteness and delicacy. Indeed her whole body is so finely organized that she seems to use it as a medium for bringing herself into closer relations with her fellow creatures. She is able not only to distinguish with great accuracy the different undulations of the air and the vibrations of the floor ade by various sounds and motions, and to recognize her friends and acquantiance the instance she touches their hands or clothing..."

When children are severely impaired in critical sensory modalities like sight or sound, it is important to remember that other senses can help a child compensate, and instruction needs to be driven through the intact pathways.

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