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Eye Can Write: A memoir of a child's silent soul emerging

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I found reading PMLD backwards quite tricky and understand your message that just because I couldn’t do it instantly, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid! He was born by emergency caesarean in 2006, after Mrs Bryan and her husband, the Revd Christopher Bryan, had a car accident. This ability was denied to Jonathan Bryan, who was born with cerebral palsy and for many years was consider incapable of expressing himself and, by extension, experience human emotions and who was seen via the prism of his disability rather than as a person. It is a hard read because reading through tears is tricky and, though Jonathan’s story touches the heart, in reality it blows the heart away.

It is in turn a beautiful story of victory and championing by Jonathan, at the same time as a heartbreaking reflection on an education system which doesn't always take the time to really see and unlock the potential of many children who already have so much stacked against them.The story was broadly linear - articulating Johnathan's experience of the life events outlined by his mother in the Intro. We truly cannot underestimate, devalue or deem something impossible no matter a person’s physical, neurological, vocal, etc abilities. The CBBC documentary even included an extract of Jonathan’s confirmation, at Malmesbury Abbey (“With Jesus as my Saviour, companion and friend, I have lived my hours here with happiness in my spirit and content calm in my soul”). Following my lead, we slow-waltzed around the board, synchronised to the music of the word in my head. The experiences of Sophie and Jonathan only serve to highlight the need to reform our special education needs system and emphasis the growing urgency of the situation.

Jonathan Bryan, 12, from Stanton St Quintin, four miles north of Chippenham, was born at 36 weeks by Caesarean after his mum was involved in a car crash. Neuware - Jonathan Bryan has cerebral palsy, which makes him incapable of speech or voluntary movement, but it's only when he finds a way to communicate using his eyes that he can make his thoughts heard. His 'conversation' with the Head teacher at his special needs school is an excoriating and unnerving one which caused me to wonder how much help those with special needs really receive as uniquely created individuals. I remember him describing in one article how, during the long locked-in years, he spent time praying. During the nine years of being effectively locked in by my severe cerebral palsy, words and phrases had been banked while my mother read to me.The emotional issue of progressing a campaign when Jonathan has a limited life expectancy is covered and it’s interesting to read Jonathan’s thoughts on this. Initially labelled as PMLD, Jonathan’s account of life in the classroom of a special school rings all too true. Jonathan has a gift with words to communicate an important message of the importance to teach ALL children regardless of their disability.

The final chapter focuses on his charity work and impact in the education sector, which is so inspiring. Devastatingly she suffered a placental abruption, which is when the placenta separates from the uterus, depriving the baby of oxygen. In chapter three Jonathan tells us about a beautiful field of long grass, where He was next to Jonathan. This memoir provides a lot of food for thought and I only have appreciation for what Jonathan and his family have gone through to get where they are now.Vineyard Churches UK and Ireland is a Charitable Company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales under Company No. Written partly by Jonathan’s mother and partly by Jonathan, a 12 year old boy with severe cerebral palsy, this book is a powerful account of the liberation of finding a way to communicate. His Haikus, one for each family member, made me cry, each skilfully crafted and clearly written from the heart. The long introduction was written by Chantal Bryan, Jonathan’s mother, and it begins with the harrowing sentence: “Before Jonathan was born, Christopher and I had a feeling that something was wrong. Before they started chatting again about the fate of the near obsolete folder that brimmed with many hours of their dedicated input, I opened up –ready for play to recommence.

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