AFTER years of silence, a young boy from north Wiltshire has found his voice.

Jonathan Bryan, 10, of Stanton St Quintin, was born with severe cerebral palsy, kidney failure and supplemental oxygen dependency, leading to him have a limited life expectancy.

His physical disabilities led to his mother Chantal being told that Jonathan had ‘profound and multiple learning disabilities’.

However, she always doubted the diagnosis made at such an early age.

Chantal said she felt her son was cast aside by the education system and left with an inability to express himself, until three years ago when she began teaching him basic reading, writing and maths skills.

Following a miraculous turnaround, Jonathan is now not just communicating, but writing poetry far beyond his years. He has even entered the BBC Radio 2 500 word story competition, taking 30 hours to write the piece using his eye movements and a spelling board.

“Learning to spell has totally transformed my life, but it is only possible because my mother taught me to read and write,” he said.

“It felt amazing to be able to tell people I love them and to pray aloud. It made me very happy to talk to my friends and family saying exactly what I wanted.”

Chantal said that she saw an instant improvement when she started teaching him at home. “At the beginning of year three at school we started teaching a few hours a day, with Jonathan going to school in the afternoon,” she said.

“With only a few hours input a day, Jonathan’s progress was astounding.”

Jonathan continued to develop his reading and writing skills until one day Chantal witnessed an extraordinary breakthrough.

He was writing a story, choosing words from a selection provided for him, when he started using the spelling board to write full sentences, spelling out every word – something he had never done before.

Jonathan went on to write: ‘The enemy had been destroyed and the crew were safe to climb on to the island where the nest of eggs unguarded lay on the beach. Jonathan went with Alexander to get the messy looking eggs. Tired from slaying the ships enemies they towed myriads of sick enemy eggs miles with every step.”

Chantal was taken aback. Reflecting on the moment she said: “He’d been unlocked.

“He started to us the spelling board to do all his talking.

“I can’t describe what that’s like to be able to talk to your child for first time.”

Jonathan has continued to learn at a staggering pace and caught up on the years he lost at school in no time at all.

“When his school age was year four we realised he was way above the year two work we were doing with him,” said Chantal.

“By the beginning of year five he was up to year five standard and now his English and maths are exceptional, near the top of the class.

“Jonathan’s abilities have amazed us.”

While Jonathan is reading and writing at a high level now, Chantal believes the education system let him down, falsely labelling him as less able from a young age.

“They enter the system at the age of four and someone has decided they have difficulties before they have had any education,” she said.

“They are given the label of having ‘profound and multiple learning disabilities.

“The label completely underestimates ability of children like Jonathan.

“If you’re not taught and not stimulated, you just switch off. If someone taught them they could communicate.

“How many other children are there in this situation? Locked in, unable to communicate, and failed by an education system that is content just to keep children like Jonathan occupied.

“There’s always been something about Jonathan, there is someone in there who wants to get out.”

Speaking on the subject Jonathan said: “If more people had believed in me I would have learnt to read and write at the same time as my peers in the mainstream class.

“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.

“[They are] waiting locked in for someone to give them a chance to have a voice.

“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.”

Jonathan has started a blog writing about his experiences and hopes it will give people an insight into how hard it can be to live with disabilities. It can be found at