Angela Singletary is the proud mother of three children: Aidan, DL, and Angela. One of them sticks out from the rest – literally. DL is a foot and a half taller than the rest of his family, as his mother and sisters all have achondroplasia.
Achondroplasia is a disorder of the bones that causes dwarfism. This means that affected individuals are short in stature even as adults. The average height of a female with this condition is 4″1, while the average height of a male is 4″4. Along with the physical symptoms, people with achondroplasia experience decreased muscle tone, hydrocephalus, spinal stenosis, and apnea. All of these symptoms are the result of a mutated FGFR3 gene, which is either inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern or sporadic. This mutation causes the overactivity of a certain protein, leading to abnormal skeletal development. Besides vosoritide, there are currently no therapies available that are specific to achondroplasia; treatment is symptomatic.
Angela stands at four feet tall, a similar height to many members of her family. Achondroplasia runs in her family, and it was passed down to her two daughters, Aidan (12) and Angela (seven). However, the mutated gene was not passed down to DL (ten), and he is already towering over his mother and sisters. In fact, his mother says that he must take after his father, who’s six and a half feet tall.
This height difference often leads strangers to assume DL isn’t Angela’s son, asking questions like, ‘are they all yours?’ While her son says the pointing and being singled out doesn’t bother him, Angela often wonders if he’s being fully honest. She doesn’t want him to feel like the odd one out.
Luckily, working on confidence and helping others do the same is something that Angela is good at – she does it for a living. As a life and wellness coach, her goal is to enable other women to feel comfortable in their own skin, just as she has learned to do. Facing judgment and disrespect growing up taught her to love herself and how to live in a society that wasn’t built with people like her in mind.
Now, she is teaching her daughters to do the same. Their house has no modifications, as she wants “the girls to know how to navigate accordingly as the world isn’t modified for little people.” Because of this, her daughters are able to do nearly everything on their own, and DL is there to help out with anything if needed.
Angela wants her children to be prepared to step out into the world, and she knows that the world can be harsh. Thankfully, she knows what to do to ready them, and she also thinks the world is becoming more accepting.
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