Six years ago, Shelley and Rob Wall were faced with a nightmare when doctors informed them that their baby had developed a rare complication of spina bifida, in which his skull had filled with fluid, and was crushing his brain down into a “thin sliver of tissue.” Assuming that the child would be severely physically and developmentally disabled, the doctors urged the parents to terminate the pregnancy, but they refused.
Now time has proved the Shelley and Rob right, as their son Noah’s brain has expanded to 80 percent of normal size and the charming youngster is thriving. The scan, which was taken when Noah was 3, was such a shock to the medical world that a documentary was made about Noah,. While it seems the brain “regrew,” doctors now believe that Noah’s brain was constricted due to too much fluid in his skull and it has since expanded, thanks to a shunt which relieved the pressure.
The happy family recently appeared on “Good Morning Britain,” where Noah, now 6, charmed the hosts and seemed to enjoy himself.
During the interview Rob spoke about their decision not to abort the pregnancy, which the doctors urged them to do no less than five times. Rob said that his and Shelley’s age and their experience raising two other daughters allowed them to rise to the challenge:
“Even if his brain had been so squashed up, he’d be severely mentally disabled because of all that damage and look at him — he’s as bright as a button,” said Noah’s father. “I think possibly if younger people were offered that choice, they may have felt pressured into taking it. Because we’re older parents, we know our own minds and we’re positive people. We wanted to give Noah the chance of life.”
Their doctors predicted that Noah would be unable to talk, see, hear or eat, but so far Noah has proved them wrong on all counts. Beyond that, Noah has undergone treatment from a radical brain training center in Australia, where he learned how to sit up unaided and even learned to surf.
The treatment he receives in Australia is called “neurophysics” — a mixture of physiotherapy and cognitive exercises. Rob noted that Noah is currently too young for this therapy, but the experts they met in Australia have been preparing Noah to undergo the treatment when he is old enough.
Aleteia reported on this story in 2017 and we are thrilled to see the significant progress which Noah has made in the last few years. We will continue to bring you the latest news on Noah’s progress as he continues to develop into an exceedingly happy and empathetic young man.