‘Now I can tell my family I love them’

A boy who has been ‘locked’ in his body is now communicating with the world after his mother taught him to spell.

Jonathan Bryan, who is ten years old, was born with multiple health problems including cerebral palsy and kidney failure.

His parents were told he would not be able to talk or write, but his mother has taught him to communicate, using only his eyes.

Don’t give up

Jonathan now writes a blog and poetry. He says it is easier to get across his experiences in verse.

In “Song of Voice”, he conveys how his voice emerged from the darkness and imagines it flying forward into the future.

He has also written to the Government seeking to change the special education system and urged people not to give up on other children with similar needs.


Chantal Bryan taught her son to spell by looking at specific letters and words.

Previously silent, he now communicates with letters, numbers and punctuation – something Chantal describes as a “breakthrough”.

The Times reported Jonathan saying: “Before, I felt like a bird in a cage. Now it is great. I love being able to tell my family and friends that I love them.

“It has made a massive difference for me being able to say what I want. My dream is that every child like me is taught to read, write and spell using the best access method for them.”


In 2014 the family of a man who has locked-in syndrome expressed joy after he was able to leave hospital.

David Garvey can only communicate through his eyes, but his sister said, “he is still fully aware of everything and we can have a laugh with him”.

In 2012 Tony Nicklinson, who also suffered from locked-in syndrome, died. He had been fighting a High Court case to allow doctors to assist in his suicide.

A later legal appeal to the European Court of Human Rights failed, with judges saying it was up to Parliament to make such decisions.

The House of Commons voted on an assisted suicide Bill in September 2015 and decisively rejected the proposals by 330 to 118.

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