BBC’s Battling for My Baby’s Brain

A programme airs tonight on BBC Wales and BBCiPlayer following a family as they train their son’s brain to build new connections to help his cerebral palsy.

BBC Battling for my baby's brain
Credit: BBC
The documentary focuses on three-year-old Hartley as his parents Tracey and Paul, from Cardiff, set themselves a year to improve Hartley’s condition. Hartley was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby, which affects his movement and coordination. Mum Tracy narrates part of the documentary and explains: “Cerebral palsy affects one in every 400 babies in the UK and can cause a painful tightening of the muscles, which limits movement and can worsen as children get older.” After learning about new research that shows how young children’s brains are highly adaptable (neuroplasticity), parents Tracy and Paul go on a mission for Hartley to benefit from specialist physiotherapy treatments. With the knowledge that Hartley’s neuroplasticity will decrease as he grows older, Tracy and Paul focus on the research they’ve found showing that children with damaged brains can work around the damaged part of the brain and make new connections to gain an increased level of control over their limbs. Mum Tracy starts training Hartley's brain and the documentary follows Harley’s journey, which Tracy describes as ‘a therapy bootcamp‘. Over 12 months the family receive treatment on the NHS, pay for cutting-edge private therapy, rent out their home to raise money, and go abroad. Tracy explains: “It’s been a year of financial sacrifice, of struggling to learn more about his condition, and hundreds of hours of therapy.” As the programme ends with Harley heading off for his first day of school the viewer will see if the family think it’s all been worth it. Watch the trailers here. Battling for My Baby’s Brain will be broadcast on BBC 1 Wales HD and Wales only tonight at 10.35pm and available on BBCiPlayer after the programme has aired.
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