|Robert Rummel-Hudson and Schuyler
photography courtesy of Robert Rummel-Hudson
Robert Rummel-Hudson lives in Plano and serves as the coordinator of communications for UTA’s School of Architecture. His 8-year-old daughter, Schuyler (pronounced Sky-ler), has polymicrogyria, a neurological disorder that has deformed the speech center of her brain, making it impossible for her to talk. This month brings the publication of his well-reviewed, touching memoir, Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey With His Wordless Daughter (St. Martin’s Press). A week before Christmas, D Magazine asked Schuyler a few questions via e-mail. She uses a device called a Vantage Plus that also speaks words she types.
How are you going to get even with your dad for picking such a tough spelling for your name? I am going to bonk Daddy in his head! I like my name.
Can you change the voice of the Vantage, so that you can sound like the sweet, intelligent girl you are—or, if you want to, a deep-voiced, scary troll? Yes I can. It sounds like a big girl. One day it sounded old like Daddy and Mommy.
What do you think about all this book business? How do you feel about seeing your picture on the cover and knowing that much of it is about YOU? Schuyler’s Monster is my book. I like my book. Daddy wrote my book about Schuyler and Daddy and Mommy and my Vantage.
Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous actress when she was younger, Drew Barrymore? I don’t know. [Her dad notes that he doesn’t think she knows who Drew Barrymore is.] I look like Ariel. She is a mermaid.
Your answer about Ariel made me laugh. Your dad wrote in his book that he sometimes has dreams about you talking. Do you ever have dreams about talking? I dream about Santa! I talk about Santa in my dreams. Daddy dreams about King Kong.
What did you ask Santa for? I want a magic wand and roller skates.