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for the Blind

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Celebrate Annie Sullivan's Birthday: Support the Cogswell-Macy Act!

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Annie Sullivan, circa 1881. This three-quarter profile of Anne's head and shoulders shows her at age 15. Her hair is parted in the center, pulled back, and braided into a bun at the back of her head. Her dress has a round decorative collar.

Happy birthday, Annie Sullivan! Annie was born on April 14, 1866, in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts. Today, we celebrate her legacy and excellence as an educator. She insisted that her student, Helen Keller, could learn and accomplish just as much as any seeing and hearing child could — and she was right.

Helen was a brilliant student, but Annie turned out to be an equally talented teacher. It was Mark Twain who first dubbed her the "miracle worker". Alexander Graham Bell greatly respected Annie's teaching methods and urged her, in a letter he wrote in 1903, to share her innovative techniques with other educators.

As an adult, Helen Keller worked for the American Foundation for the Blind for 44 years. At AFB, we believe that every child who is deafblind, deaf or hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired should have the opportunity to develop to their full potential, just like Helen did. That's why we are proud to advocate for passage of the Cogswell-Macy Act, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and help it keep its promise of a free and appropriate education for all students.

Help celebrate Annie Sullivan's birthday by calling your legislators, and asking them to sponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act. Here's what the act will do:

  • ensure specialized instruction specifically for students who are visually impaired, deafblind, or deaf or hard of hearing.
  • increase the availability of services and resources by ensuring all students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind are accounted for.
  • enhance accountability at the state and federal levels.
  • increase research into best practices for teaching and evaluating students with sensory disabilities.

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