Learning to spell has totally transformed my life, but it is only possible because my mother taught me to read and write. What brings me incredible sorrow is watching my non-verbal friends in wheelchairs miss out on the fullness of life because no-one believes that they are worth teaching literacy to. Seeing them sit with staring eyes makes me yearn to help them, I have written this poem describing what it is like for them. I’m in the unique position of knowing what this feels like having been in the special school system for five years prior to being able to spell.
Song of Silence
Numbness making sensory dead!
Inhibiting freedom fearing change,
Sanity seeping sadly down,
Shutters closing, everyday night.
Ceasing hope holding shame aloft,
Kept like wounded trapped birds caged inside,
Why should silence drown their spirit?
Who can free their souls aching sorrow?
© Jonathan Bryan
My dream is that every non-verbal child is taught to read and write. Underestimating special needs children is robbing them of their right to education and communication. Until this is seen as the abuse it is, nothing will change. Reforming the special needs curriculum must be a priority.