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A four-year-old girl is often mistaken for a toddler due to a rare disease affecting just 30 people worldwide.
Violet Cocking still wears clothes designed to fit an 18 month old – and is only a few inches taller than her four-month-old sister, Ada.
Mum Charlotte Cocking, 32, was concerned about her size from birth, but says medics were unable to find a cause for two and a half years.
But after months of turmoil, a genetic test revealed Violet from St. Ives, Cornwall, had microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type 1 – a genetic condition inherited from both parents.
Charlotte and her husband Robert, 43, unknowingly carried the dwarfism gene which meant Violent inherited the same defective gene from both.
Charlotte, who is a bartender said: “People assume Violet is a toddler so when I tell them her real age, they look at me with a very confused expression.
“Violet has settled well into reception but requires extra support – she has a really good friend called Willow who looks out for her.
“She is 3ft 8in, a foot taller than Violet, which is a pretty average height for a four-year-old but their height doesn’t stop them from being the best of friends.”
Violet was born at 36 weeks yet she looked smaller than ever and weighed 2lb 15oz.
Charlotte added: “She was kept in NICU as she was unable to feed and could only stomach 50ml of milk a day – the equivalent to a double shot in barmaid terms.
“As the months passed, she barely grew, and I became very concerned that she was wearing newborn clothing at six-months-old.
“She wasn’t much bigger than a pint glass at three-months old.
“Even now she wears specially made shoes which are a size two and a half for babies.
“But periodically she was fine, we had genetic and blood tests with the NHS but the results were never abnormal – but I knew something was wrong.
“I researched the living hell out of her characteristics – she had curved fingers and puffy feet along with a really small head.
“Dwarfism always popped up in a search, but I assumed I was being daft until we had another test that involved a saliva swab from me, Rob and Violet, when she was two and a half.
“We were over the moon to finally a diagnosis that revealed she has a rare form of an already rare form of dwarfism.”
The couple discovered a charity called ‘Walking with the Giants’ who have a specialist genetic team that has diagnosed five other children with Violets condition in the UK.
There was a 50 per cent chance Violet would be a carrier like each of her parents and a 25 per cent chance to not have the condition.
Violet is still currently reaching all her milestones and despite her development being delayed, she did learn how to walk seven months ago.
Charlotte said: “I can’t help but feel like I wasted the first year of Violet’s life obsessing with what is wrong with her.
“I feel guilty, but I was desperate to get an answer which is when I came across the charity Facebook group.
“I can’t thank them enough for their support and it is nice to be able to speak to other parents who have children with a rare form of dwarfism.
“We don’t know what to expect for the future, but she is very lucky as other children with this condition are known to be severely disabled.
“Violet isn’t a typical child, but she is smart and funny – she is mentally three-years-old.
“Her speech is behind and can be hard for others to understand and she can only walk a short distance in places where she is familiar with.”
Charlotte feared her second daughter Ada, now four months, may have the same condition but a Chorionic villus sampling at 11 weeks confirmed she was born without.
She adds: “I was a nervous wreck waiting for the results with Ada, as we wouldn’t be able to cope with another disabled child.
“It was great when they said she was unaffected and already Ada is almost as big as Violet.
“But that doesn’t stop her from being the best big sister and she always bringing Ada her toys.”