The average ten year old girl is around four feet six inches tall. Danielle Griffin stands at just two foot eleven inches; the size of a typical two year old. The maximum she can expect to reach is only three feet ten inches. As an adult, Danielle will live her life at the size of a six year old.
She suffers from an extremely rare form of dwarfism which affects only four in a million - Psuedoachondroplasia.
Professor Dattani a Paediatric Endocrinologist explains "Psuedoachondroplasia is an extremely unusual condition, more unusual than achondroplasia which is the form of dwarfism we see more often. It is a condition whereby the bones have formed badly during development. Unfortunately, medical science has very little to offer in terms of actual treatment although we can be supportive and offer physiotherapy".
When Danielle was born she was a healthy 7lb 2oz and a normal 20 inches long. People with psuedoachondroplasia develop in the womb as normal foetuses and, at birth, their appearance is that of a typical healthy baby.
The average baby skeleton develops at a steady rate, with the limbs and trunk in proportion to each other. A baby with psuedoachondroplasia develops at the normal rate until around the age of two, at which point their growth rate slows down. In particular, their arms and legs grow out of proportion to the trunk. Danielle stared to drop off the height charts when she was just eleven months old.
Danielle's diagnosis was a shock to her parents as there was no genetic history of short stature in either family.
Professor Dattani tells us "It occurs out of the blue and affects the child because there's a change in a single gene. Quite possibly the parents did not carry the gene at all".
At school, Danielle tries to get involved in all the things her friends do. The usual schoolgirl activities like netball, hockey and rounders are out of the question, so the choir is where she lets off steam. Danielle's size dictates that she can't get involved in many sports. The length of her limbs means she can't run or walk as fast as her friends, but swimming is one thing she loves to do.
Psuedoachondroplasia doesn't just affect the growth of the skeleton, the condition also affects the joints.