Four-year-old with rare form of dwarfism is mistaken for a toddler

A four-year-old with a rare form of dwarfism is often mistaken for a toddler, her parents say, and is a whole foot shorter than her best friend.

Violet Cocking, from St Ives in Cornwall, weighed just 2lbs 15oz when she was born and her condition means she is still only 2ft 7ins.

Her best friend, Willow, towers over her and she is only four inches taller than her four-month-old sister, while her size means she wears clothes made for 18-month-olds.

It took medics two-and-a-half years to diagnose the girl with microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type 1.

The condition is a genetic illness she inherited from her parents even though neither of them have it – according to rare diseases information site, Orphanet, just 30 cases have ever been recorded in scientific studies. 

It means she has the mental age of a three-year-old and her speech and walking ability are less developed than other children her age, but her parents say she is a smart, funny girl.

Many children with the condition die before turning one – Violet has survived and is otherwise health, so her family is optimistic about the future.

Violet Cocking, four, is just 2ft 7ins tall and is a whole foot shorter than her best friend, Willow, even though they are the same age

Violet Cocking, four, is just 2ft 7ins tall and is a whole foot shorter than her best friend, Willow, even though they are the same age

Violet is often mistaken for a toddler, her parents say. Pictured, she is almost as small as her four-month-old sister, Ada

Violet is often mistaken for a toddler, her parents say. Pictured, she is almost as small as her four-month-old sister, Ada

Violet's parents, Charlotte and Robert Cocking, 32 and 43, unknowingly carried the dwarfism gene which meant Violet inherited the same defective gene from both.

Mrs Cocking, 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 Bentley-Smith 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 weighed 2lb 15oz, which is considered late preterm. Her parents knew she was small but doctors could not explain why, they said.

Mrs Cocking 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

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