PARALYSED from the chest down, a Cumbrian boy is defying doctors by learning to move his legs - with the hope he will one day walk.

Noah Wall, now six, is the child who will not be limited by doctors’ definitions or diagnoses.

He was not supposed to have survived his birth.

Parents Michelle, known as Shelley, and Rob Wall planned his funeral while she was pregnant, having been told to choose his coffin and say their goodbyes before they had even met their baby boy.

He had been diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in the womb, and doctors advised Michelle to terminate.

The couple, who live in Abbeytown near Wigton, refused - and have been fighting for little Noah’s rights every day since.

Scans showed he had just two per cent of his brain, and the Walls were told he was paralysed from the chest down and would be severely disabled.

Determined to prove them wrong, Shelley and her family worked tirelessly with Noah, fundraising to give him the vital equipment that would afford him his independence.

He learned to sit up, to count and to speak. By the time Noah was three-years-old, scans showed his brain had grown to 80 per cent and was functioning almost fully.

The biggest challenge this inspirational little boy faced however, was being wheelchair bound and paralysed from the chest down.

Recently, Michelle, 47, and Rob, 53, a design engineer, heard about a radical ‘brain training’ treatment in Australia called NeuroPhysics Therapy which helped paralysed Manchester Arena bomb survivor Martin Hibbert recover feeling in his legs.

The exercise-based treatment involves encouraging the right and left sides of the brain to communicate in new ways and ‘open up’ the nervous system.

Fired-up neurons are then able to bypass the damaged spinal cord to send messages to limbs.

Although Noah was too young to embark on official NeuroPhysics Therapy (concentration levels required mean it is only suitable from the age of 12 upwards) founders Ken and Nickie Ware agreed to meet him at their clinic on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

As a result of adapted sessions there over the course of three weeks, Noah has mastered kneeling on all fours, lying back and pulling his legs towards his face and even attempting to stand.

Back at home he is now following a daily programme of exercises prescribed by NPT practitioner Nickie who is confident that he will, one day, successfully walk.

Proud mum Shelley, who is Noah’s full-time carer, said: “This is a huge breakthrough – and it gives hope to all patients out there born with paralysis.

“The message has always been ‘you’re in a wheelchair for life, and you’ll never be able to stand – let alone walk’. Yet, this clinic has done massive amounts with him.

“Ken and Nickie are doing amazing work. They have shown that the brain really can find a way of sending messages to limbs – despite terrible damage to the spinal cord.”

Exercises included Noah lying on his back with his feet in elastic stirrups and trying to swing his legs. On the first day there was just a fraction of movement, to his parents’ emotional delight.

By the end of the trip, he was swinging his legs from side to side, making cycling movements and even grabbing hold of the bands and pulling himself into a sitting position.

“He even managed to lift his legs and bring them towards his face,” Shelley recalled. “He was so proud saying: ‘I did it! I did it!’ He’s dreamed of doing these things – now he knows that they’re all possible.

“One night, while dreaming, he kicked his sister, Steph, 26, so hard that he woke her up. That sort of movement was unthinkable before.”

Ken said: “We don’t want to take any unjustified credit for Noah’s progress. We opened up some pathways – there’s no doubt about - but a lot of it was down to Noah and the work his parents have done with him.

“Messages are definitely getting through his spinal cord despite the damage caused by the spina bifida. It’s just about changing the way you think and being mentally connected to any movements you make.

“Our message to Michelle and Rob and any other parent of a child in this situation is: ‘the more you enrich the environment with lots of stimulating things to do the more the system will start to respond’.

“Noah’s had years of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy but that’s people doing things to him – not him doing it for himself. By giving his system more degrees of freedom it just naturally starts to open up.

“He is such a personality,” Ken continued, “a lovely little fella. The first thing I did was congratulate Michelle and Rob on what they have done with Noah so far. It’s all come from intuition.

“It’s amazing how far he has come. They have done a fantastic job with no knowledge whatsoever. We certainly don’t want to slide in on the back of that. But if we have helped in some small way that’s great.”

While it was three weeks of hard work - with Noah experiencing aching in muscles which had never in his life been used - a family friend managed to arrange for him to see some of the Australian sights.

Shelley said: “The highlight of the trip was taking Noah surfing on the nearby Surfers’ Paradise beach.

“A specialist team of volunteers from The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia worked with him – and tears ran down my face seeing him ride six waves.”