The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller ( a summary) is that for the first few chapters, the author tells about her early years. She talks about how she was born into a life of privilege, that her mother, Kate, doted on her, and that by all accounts she was born without any disabilities. However, when she was almost 2 years old, she suffers from a very high fever (most likely Scarlett Fever) which leaves her deaf and blind. The only word that she had said up until that point was water (wa-wa) and a few other choice words. Most of these words left her as she grew older.
There were many attempts to get Helen some help, through her family's considerable connections. One such connection was Alexandar Graham Bell, whom Helen liked. She liked him because he didn't treat her like she didn't exist, and he seemed to understand her. This lack of personal dignity and the lack of ability to communicate all of the thoughts, questions, and ideas, served only to make Helen a sullen and unmanagable young girl. There were several tutors that were obtained for her, but she bested them all.
Anne Sullivan would come to the estate and would finally have the breakthrough that gave Helen the ability to communicate with the outside world. In the last chapter (9-10) after a particularly heated exchange, Anne takes Helen outside to walk in the garden. An old water pump is there which Anne activates. Helen holds her hands under the water and Anne shows her the sign for water. Remembering the word Wa-Wa from her infancy, she now makes the connection that allows her to rejoin a world that had been cut off from her for many years.