Letter to the Minister for Education

This is the letter I wrote to the Minister for Education to ask her to reform the special education system to teach children like me to read and write.

Dear Minister,

My name is Jonathan Bryan and I am 10 years old. Until last year I was unable to communicate, as I am in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy and my voice does not work.  Learning to spell, using only my eyes, 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, and waiting locked in for someone to give them a chance to have a voice.

In my experience, non-verbal children like me can’t be described as having Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) when they have never been taught. At the age of 4, I entered the special education system yoked with the label PMLD despite no-one having taught me; or having found a way for me to communicate. I believe children like me should be reclassified as having Profound and Multiple Access to Learning Difficulties.  Special needs teachers must believe in the potential of their pupils, take the time to find out how the different children will access literacy, and then teach them.  Disabled children with communication issues are not being taught in special schools.  They are being babysat!

If literacy was taught to children in special schools more children would be unlocked like me.  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.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Bryan

9 thoughts on “Letter to the Minister for Education

  1. Johnathan, what an inspiration you are! I loved your short story and cannot believe you are only 10. So rich a vibrant and beautiful, it’s like reading a beautiful painting. I used to work with adults with profound learning disabilities, and one girl in particular, was wicked with her spelling board! She could spell better than me! You are so right, not only do we not need to box people immediately, but we need to be more creative with communication. Just think of what the world would have missed had your Mum not been so persistent and faithful. I sincerely hope you continue to write, and to be published. In a drab world you have the potential to bring a lot of colour. Every blessing to you and your Mum.
    Ruth

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    I came across your ‘prison escape’ story via Twitter. Words have set you free, and it’s amazing to read what you’ve achieved since. You’ve got a tenacious mum, and I hope and pray you will go on in life to do great things that will set others free too.

    God bless, Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jonathan, I just saw your story on the BBC news and was compelled to read your blog. You are a truly inspiring young man and I wish you well with your campaigning for reform in the special education system. All the best, Pete

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are a truly inspiring young man, Jonathan. It has been really interesting reading your posts and, as a mother who home educates my own children, another example of why truly personal education offered by someone deeply invested in the happiness and wellbeing of the child is always going to be best. I cannot wait to share your story with my children and our local home education community. May the Lord bless you and keep you, Jonathan.

    Like

  5. Jonathan I am moved by your determination and love directed to help give others the opportunity to unique learning tailored to enable freedom for expression. You are opening our eyes to the power we have to help all children to have equal rights to education . I have added my signature to change.org.
    You have achieved so much, thank you for sharing your story and giving me an insight into your world and your very special loving family.

    Like

    • Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to my personal blogroll.

      Like

  6. Happy Easter, Jonathan!
    Beautiful letter and I could not agree more with you. Keep on working on your campaign and spreading the word. You are a brave man!

    Hope the ministers and government listen and welcome this much needed reform.

    All the best!

    Like

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