Seattle scholar overcomes cerebral palsy to publish first book

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 6, 2010 at 9:12 PM

SEATTLE -- The world's libraries and bookstores are overflowing with books written by Ph.D.'s, but they aren't often autobiographies, and they are almost never written by using Morse code.

Dr. Kristin Rytter's first book is called "People Who Raised Me Beyond." Dr. Rytter has been living with athetoid cerebral palsy since birth.

One way she communicates is with her eye movements, tracked by an infra-red system as she focuses on letters and words on a digital keyboard. She also communicates using an eye and object code she and her father developed when she was young.

The book is the story of her life, from the childhood realizations of difference, to personal loss, adult depression, and the 17 years of study it took to earn a doctorate degree at the University of Washington.

Dr. Rytter acknowledges the writing wasn't always easy. Not the obvious physical challenges she says, but the emotional vulnerability.

Dr. Rytter hopes readers will understand how she lives and understand that with help she has made her life good.

She's also a painter, painting with a brush taped to an old pair of glasses.

As a consultant, Dr. Rytter helps develop curriculum and family strategies to help kids with disabilities learn.

As for a sequel, Dr. Rytter says she's living it, and will wait to see if her first book sells before she writes another.

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