'Never I can't do it, only I can't do it yet': Cerebral Palsy won't stop Hopkins grad

Posted at 11:30 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 13:16:29-04

Emily Dorffer is a walking story, so it’s fitting she plans to make a career out of telling them.

“I’m just one of those determined little stinkers that just never gives up,” Dorffer said.

An important chapter in her life will end soon — the next time she walks the Johns Hopkins University campus it will be as a graduate.

The English major's love for writing started at a young age, and she never let Cerebral Palsy keep the words from flowing.

 “In my case, that means I have some slight fine motor skills difficult,” Dorffer said. “Which basically for me means messy handwriting, and I get a little bit tired if I have to write a whole lot at once.”

So, how did she get to the point of becoming a published author and college graduate?

“Typing is no problem at all.”

But don't call her an inspiration.

“It’s my life it’s my normal, I understand that it’s not most people’s version of normal but it’s mine.”

Dorffer put together together an anthology of stories from disabled writers from around the world.

“There’s a wide range of topics. There’s some simple stuff like a character just goes and shops for groceries and you see how her anxiety disorder affects her,” Dorfer said.

The stories for (Dis) Ability: A Short Story Anthology started piling in.

“This story deals with more assistive technology and the adjustment to that as well the character's self-image and how that develops through the story,” Dorffer said.

Shifting the focus away from the disability to the strong storytelling of talented authors.

“It’s an intimidating issue to talk about something that their just not familiar with and they're afraid of offending people obviously.

Her mother Virginia couldn't be prouder of her favorite haiku writer.

 “Even as a parent I never knew she could accomplish what she has accomplished. If you just let anybody do what their passionate about it’s amazing what they can do. You should never say no to somebody.”

Emily is looking forward to life as a graduate, wherever the next chapter may be.

 “If you are going to say I can’t it better be followed up with yet,” said Dorffer.

Johns Hopkins University Commencement is May 23, the keynote speaker is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson.