Noah Wall, from Cumbria, in the north of England, U.K., was diagnosed with spina bifida in his mother Shelly Wall’s womb. The birth defect causes the structure from which the baby’s brain and spinal cord forms to not close properly. This can cause harm the baby’s nerves and spinal cord and lead to disabilities.

Speaking on British TV program Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, Shelly and his father Rob Wall spoke of how their six-year-old son has since gained function in 80 percent of his brain.

During Shelly’s pregnancy, doctors warned the family their son would be paralyzed from the chest down, and could be born with other abnormalities, according to the Hugs for Noah website. It was feared his spina bifida was so severe it would not be possible to close the gap. In the womb, a cyst in his brain destroyed the organ leaving behind a small segment at the front of his head.