University of WinchesterTestimonial

Julie Wharton

Senior Lecturer & NASENco Course Leader

Institute of Education
University of Winchester

A powerful presentation about overcoming barriers to learning and participation.

Jonathan Bryan has been given the label of Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and is the published author of Eye Can Write. Jonathan and I met last year to discuss the way that he might share his message with educationalists. As a result of this meeting, Jonathan, Chantal, his mother, and Sarah Giles, Jonathan’s home education teacher & Teach Us Too trustee, came to talk to students on the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators at the University of Winchester. This powerful presentation challenged our thinking and enabled us to rethink our attitudes to the many labels that are used in the world of special educational needs and disability. The global pandemic has prevented this face-to-face contact this academic year but not daunted by this barrier, Teach Us Too have taken their inspirational story online.

This is an invaluable presentation that provides a clear message about the importance for literacy for all. It also gives an excellent description of a range of ways that communication might be alternative and augmented. There is also a thorough exploration of the dilemmas of labelling; Jonathan describes the label of PMLD as ‘pernicious’. Sarah calls us to consider a model of ‘difference’ versus ‘deficiency’. This presentation calls us to teach with high expectation and to ensure that we believe in the full potential of the individuals always presuming competence. Stressing the importance of literacy as the key to learning, the presentation outlines how empowering the teaching of literacy might be. This is an invaluable teaching resource that is suitable for undergraduates and postgraduates as well as early career teachers and highly experienced educators.

In a well-presented and accessible format, this resource allows Jonathan’s charity Teach Us Too to work towards their vision to challenge, influence and share and enables us to reconsider our attitudes and assumptions. Capturing this vital message on video will ensure that this inspiring story can be shared as widely as possible. Thank you, Teach Us Too!