Defying the odds

Posted on: 10th September 2015

Brandon is achieving amazing things, despite doctors saying he would never walk or eat normally

Brandon was born with cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs, and was kept in hospital on oxygen for the first 9 months of his life.

The prognosis that doctors gave to Brandon’s mother, Tracey, when he was just a baby was very poor – he would never be able to walk or eat without a feeding tube. Now at 11 years old, Brandon has proven them very wrong!

He lives at home with his mother, step father and 2 older brothers. Though his cerebral palsy has affected Brandon in various ways, including breathing problems and fatigue, he is living a very full and happy life. With a loving family and a great team of support workers, he is achieving amazing results in many areas.

“The support we’ve received has made a massive difference to our lives.”

Brandon has learning difficulties and behavioural issues, which means he needs to attend a special school, but he is excelling in certain subjects and looking forward to moving up to secondary school in September. Taking his SATs recently, Brandon achieved level 3 in maths, which is on a par with other children his age.

“He was made up,” says Tracey. “It’s hard for him to understand the questions but he understands the maths. A reader and a scribe assisted him with the exam – reading the questions to him and writing down his answers. He’s not good at writing but he’s a whizz on the iPad and PC.”

Since he was 5 years old, Brandon has received support and therapy from a multidisciplinary care team. His case manager has overseen the therapy and support he’s received, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy - all of which continues on weekly basis. Brandon also has 3 support workers, who assist him at home and in school on a 1:1 basis.

“The support we’ve received has made a massive difference to our lives,” says Tracey. “Brandon gets very anxious and doesn’t sleep very well at night, so he often needs to take naps during the day. His support workers work some waking night shifts to help us with this. He also goes to respite once a fortnight, so we’ve managed to have a few weekends away.

“He’s exceeded everything we ever though was possible.”

Like most boys his age, outside of school hours Brandon enjoys watching and taking part in sports – particularly football and swimming. “He’s been to a few football matches at Old Trafford (he supports Manchester Utd)” says Tracey, “and he trains with a local junior team every week. He also loves walking and cycling – we stay in a caravan in North Wales each weekend so we can get out and about as a family.”

Brandon recently received his 25 metres swimming badge. This is a huge achievement for Brandon as he finds swimming particularly challenging due to weakness of core muscles and poor breath control. “He’s been going for swimming lessons for 7 years and has improved so much,” says Tracey, “but he has very poor muscle memory, so he needs to go every week to keep it up.”

“He gets frustrated but he’s very determined,” says Tracey, “he won’t let anything stop him.”

When Brandon starts high school this September, he will go to school without support for the first time. “We’re trying it out because we don’t think he’ll need it,” says Tracey, “but we’ll see how it goes.

“He’s exceeded everything we ever though was possible,” says Tracey, “he’s just brilliant!”