‘I can’t leave the house without strangers staring or taking photos of me’

A woman with a rare form of dwarfism says she struggles in public as she's often mistaken as a child and drunk men repeatedly pick her up.

Danielle Reid, 22, is 3ft 11inches because of achondroplasia, which means her torso is average length, but her legs and arms are significantly shorter than most people.

But while the psychology student has learned to cope, she says its others who make life difficult, GlasgowLive reports.

Danielle said she can't leave the house without people staring – and strangers even take photos of her without permission.

Drunks try to pick her up to impress their friends, she is often mistaken for a child and can't use automatic doors – as the sensors are too high for her to register her.

Danielle, from Motherwell, said: "I get people pointing at me and laughing, and taking pictures.

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"I've had people trying to lift me up – getting in my personal space. It's amazing how people think they can treat me differently because I'm small.

"It's worse when people are drunk but there's not a time when I go out the house where people don't stare, point, or take pictures. It happens every time. It's horrible."

Achondroplasia is a form of disorder of dwarfism where cartilage doesn't change to bone, stunting the patient's growth.

This means that Danielle's limbs are shorter but her torso is normal in stature, and she is now, fully grown, just 3ft 11ins.

Danielle has lived with the condition her whole life and has grown used to the limitations it places on her.

She said that she is the only one in her family with the condition.

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She explained: "It mainly happens on nights out because people have more cause to do it because they have a drink in them.

"Sometimes they will have people filming them while they try to pick me up.

"I've had people grabbing my neck, just holding it – it's really strange.

"I would be out with a group and some drunk lads would approach. Sometimes they will ask if they can take a photo or lift me up, sometimes they would just do it.

"It usually gets stopped because I'm with a group and my friends can get protective. I don't go out by myself because of that.

"It's like people will listen to my friends when they say no but not to me when I say it."

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Danielle owns her own flat and is studying towards a psychology certificate, but worries every time she leaves the house because of the reaction she gets.

She said she can't even get on the bus without people mistaking her for a child.

She added: "It's restrictive generally so there are things I can't do.

"At the supermarket there are things I can't buy because I can't reach them. There are only so many times you can ask for help.

"I want to be an independent female and do things for myself.

"Going to new places there is always the worry that I can't reach some things."

She is speaking out to raise awareness, and hopefully change peoples' behaviour.

She continued: "It's not exactly common, but there are actors and athletes who have it.

"People need to be aware of how others can feel. Everyone wants to fit in and that's hard enough, but it's worse when people are laughing at you for something you can't change.

She concluded: "It's challenging. I've been trying to see the positive in it, but now I'm trying to raise awareness because people will always stare.

"If I could stop a few people it would make a bit of a different."

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