Eye Can Write: A Memoir of a Child’s Silent Soul Emerging by Jonathan Bryan
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 1st 2019 by Blink Publishing
Jonathan Bryan has severe cerebral palsy, a condition that makes him incapable of voluntary movement or speech. He was locked inside his own mind, aware of the outside world but unable to fully communicate with it until he found a way by using his eyes to laboriously choose individual letters, and through this make his thoughts known. In Eye Can Write, we read of his intense passion for life, his mischievous sense of fun, his hopes, his fears, and what it’s like to be him. This is a powerful book from an incredible young writer whose writing ability defies age or physical disability—a truly inspirational figure.
This June 2022, I had the pleasure of meeting 16 year old author, Jonathan Bryan and his mother, Chantal. As Jonathan cannot verbally ‘speak’ to us in a conventional way, his mother read to us excerpts of Jonathan’s stories, his poems and told us of his journey.
I then bought his book to read more from the depths of his incredible otherwise hidden experience of the world.
I marvelled as he painstakingly, letter by letter, using the only part of his body that he can fully control – his EYE – and a spelling board, he carefully shared his frustrations, his loves, his understanding, his faith and experiences of life, education and God – which are a real encouragement and delight to read – and his journey towards finding a way to communicate his voice with the world.
Not satisfied with having a voice, this courageous young man has made it his mission to make sure that all children, who are labelled PMLD, or regardless of any disability, have the same opportunity to be given full access to education and to find and use their voice.
To accomplish his mission, he has set up a charity called ‘Teach Us Too’.
As an educationalist and a writer, this was one of the most moving stories I have encountered – both in meeting Jonathan and in reading his words in this perfect book.
It made me see how much I take for granted and how limited special needs educational understanding and provision currently is. It also made me see how undeveloped and lazy my own vocabulary so often is!
His story is so profoundly important to us all and his heart is beautiful.
You can find more information about Jonathan’s charity, ‘Teach Us Too’, here
Click here to see a video of him from 2018, when he was 12 years old.