Laura Bridgman and Me

by Nicole Tucker


(Manchester NH)

Laura Birdgman was born on December, 21, 1892 to a hard working farm family. At the age of two her and her family became very ill with Scarlet fever. This left her sightless, smell-less, and almost tasteless. Growing up she liked to mimic her mother and help her with house work, sewing and knitting.

Eleven weeks before her eleventh birthday Samual Howe Gridley, the first American educator to the blind, visited Laura and her family and convinced them to bring Laura to the Perkins school for the Blind. She studied there for years and by the age of twenty she returned home. When she got there she found that her family did not attend to her much so they decided to make her permanent home at the school. Living there she taught sewing and knitting courses. She had no patience for Shoddy work. She went home for the summer months but the School was her main home. She got sick and died peacefully at the school at the age of 68.

With me and my life there are several similarities but mine is much happier. When I was born I had a Stroke, which led me to having Cerebral Palsy at the age of four I was diagnosed with epilepsy. In Elementary school I had a 1 on 1 aid to help me out in the classroom. During that time I had therapy at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown NH and there is where I felt at home. I was among people who liked me and respected me for who I was. I would go there once a week to ride a horse. There is where all my worries melted away. Between there and home is where I was most comfortable with family and friends who loved me and understood me.

Then I had stopped going there due to some medical difficulties. I would always think of the place and wish I was there. I went to school with the same problems. As the years went on the problems got worse between the school not giving me what I need and me not accepting the help. Up until around the age of sixteen, I would not accept the fact that there was anything wrong with me. So the years went on I still struggled with school and friends. Then High School came along BIG NIGHTMARE so ninth grade was my last year in public school. My mom decided to home school me which did wonders for my self esteem and I learned so much more than I did at public school. So I went to a technical school my Junior and senior year for the Culinary Arts and loved it, except for my Tourettes that had been slowly creeping up on me that although I loved to cook, the restaurant environment would not work for me. I did graduate with an A and no 1 on 1 aid.

After I graduated from high school I was wondering what I wanted to do with my life then my mom surprised me with signing me up to volunteer at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown NH. Once again I was home and things were better then ever. I learned to care for the horses as well as help the other clients and volunteers. I also started to ride again. I have decided to dedicate my life too helping the horses and clients at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown NH.

I also have joined a group called YEAH youth educating adults on healthcare and KASA kids as self advocates. I also got a job with New Hampshire Family Voices and the Epilepsy foundation as there Youth Coordinator.
So for the rest of my life I will work with the horses and clients at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown NH because they keep me calm and I love them. I also will keep doing my self Advocacy work with the YEAH council KASA and New Hampshire Family Voices and the Epilepsy foundation as long as they will have me.

So to sum it all up I can relate to Laura in many ways. The reason I wanted to learn ASL is to better communicate with the people at the barn and with in my work and because it is fun!