Seattle photojournalist Karen Ducey | multimedia, news, and documentary photographer

STORIES: Without a Language

David Pyle was born both deaf and blind. Considered "uneducatable" by his pre school teachers, David never learned a formal sign language. Today, at age 32, David is considered developmentally disabled. He uses minimal gestures to communicate.

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David Pyle, who is deaf and blind, has never been expected to do anything for himself.  He lives in an apartment with one roomate and receives 24-hour intensive support care.  He relies on respite workers to take care of even his most basic needs.  David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
David Pyle, who is deaf and blind, David reaches for the hand that is there every morning when he wakes up.  He lives in an apartment with one roomate and receives 24-hour intensive support care.  He relies on respite workers to take care of even his most basic needs.  David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
David Pyle, who is deaf and blind, has never been expected to do anything for himself.  He lives in an apartment with one roomate and receives 24-hour intensive support care.  He relies on respite workers to take care of even his most basic needs.  David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
     
  
Symbols representing objects are used to let David know what he will be having for breakfast.  They are placed on the table at the same time as his food and he doesn't seem to know they are there.      David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
Totally dependent on others, David seems to find security in human contact.   David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
When David is taken swimming each week, he just floats, sometimes for the entire session.  In the water he experiences what hydrotherapists call
     
  
David reaches, perhaps as a way of seeing with his hands.  David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
Like other deaf-blind people, David finds pleasure in self stimulation, including spinning.  David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered
  
On most Thursdays, volunteers take David horseback riding.  For reasons unexplicable to him, he goes up and down, side to side, forward and around.  He seems to find great pleasure in experiencing the three dimensions in motion.   David Pyle was born both deaf and blind.  Considered