Eye Can Write
1343. Jonathan Bryan
Jonathan Bryan, aged 12, from Wiltshire, is a special educational needs advocate who learned to write using his eyes and now champions literacy education for all children, irrespective of educational needs.
Jonathan has severe cerebral palsy, a condition that makes him incapable of voluntary movement or speech, and unable to write until the age of nine when, using his eyes like a finger pointing and an alphabet board, his mother taught him to read and write. Jonathan has now authored a book called ‘Eye Can Write’ about his experience learning to read as a ‘locked in’ child, with proceeds supporting his charity ‘TeachUsToo’, which works to promote the right of for all children to be taught to read and write, particularly for other children like himself who are non-verbal.
Jonathan’s award coincides with World Book Day, the annual celebration of books and reading.
In a personal letter to Jonathan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Learning to write by flicking your eyes towards letters on a board is not only a triumph of painstaking human resilience but a wonderful accomplishment which is transforming attitudes towards disability far and wide.
“Through your autobiography, “Eye Can Write” you have given a voice to the voiceless with a beauty of rhetoric and a command of vocabulary that inspires and uplifts the soul. And through your campaign “Teach Us Too” you are championing the greatest literary education for every child with the same irrepressible determination that embodies your whole life story.
“So as we mark World Book Day, I am honoured to support your mission and to recognise your service which exemplifies the very best of us all.”
“I am very honoured and surprised that my charity work with ‘Teach Us Too’ has been recognised by the Prime Minister for a Points of Light award, and I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless until all children are taught to read and write regardless of their educational label.”