A mother whose husband and two children are little people has hit back at cruel strangers who point, laugh and take photos of the family.
At 5ft 4in, Heather Smith, 34, towers over her husband Paul, 40, who is just 4ft tall and, like their children – 3ft 7in Jack, 13 and 3ft 2in Erin, nine – has a form of dwarfism, known as pseudoachondroplasia.
After falling in love on holiday, Ms Smith was aware the painful condition may one day affect her children.
Yet she did not anticipate the the extent of the jibes her family, from Nottingham, would face, with her youngest even being called a 'stupid little midget'.
Ms Smith is speaking out about ignorant behaviour and calling for a change in attitudes to little people.
She said: 'We need more education and awareness so that everybody can be accepted. Attitudes are starting to change as dwarfism is more visible but there's still a long way to go.'
A mother whose husband and two children are little people has hit back at cruel strangers
Heather Smith's, 34, husband Paul, 40, son Jack, 13 and daughter Erin, nine, all suffer
Ms Smith was aware her and Paul's children may one day be affected by the condition
Pseudoachondroplasia is a form of dwarfism that affects bone growth and development.
It is caused by a genetic mutation and affects around one in 30,000 people.
The average height of an adult male is 120cm and a female is 116cm.
Characteristics of the condition include shortened limbs, stubby fingers, a waddled walk, joint pain and limited movement.
Life expectancy and intelligence is unaffected.
Diagnosis usually occurs around two years old when characteristics become apparent.
Treatment focuses on pain relief and surgery to improve movement, if required.
Source: Little People UK
'I still thought Paul was a really good-looking man'
Ms Smith and her husband, an administration assistant for Boots, first met in Majorca in 2002, where she was working as a holiday rep and he was a DJ.
Although she had never met any little people, Ms Smith was unfazed by his condition.
She said: 'I still thought Paul was a really good-looking man. Friends and family were very supportive.
'I've had some comments, and get inappropriate questions but if people are judgmental then I just cut them out.'
In time, the couple's thoughts turned to starting a family.
As pseudoachondroplasia is a genetic condition, they knew there was a chance their children would inherit it.
Ms Smith said: 'Paul lived his life to the full, had a job and socialised happily with his friends.
'He was happy and knowing that he'd always lived a normal life meant we