Angus Palmes is 13-years-old but looks and acts like a toddler due to a unique chromosome abnormality.
He is believed to be the only person in the world with the condition. It restricts his growth and has left him wearing clothes meant for 3-year-olds.
The teenage toddler can’t walk unaided, but he enjoys “bum shuffling” around the house, his mother Tandy Palmes told the Daily Mail.
“He’s not completely without motor skills but he can’t talk so he’s devised his own version of sign language,” said Palmes.
“It’s a few basic hand signals that he does. Everybody who works with him or knows him knows what they are.”
If Angus is happy, for example, he sticks out his index finger and thumb and jiggles them.
Weighing in at 30 pounds, Angus is doted on by his slightly older brother Otis, 15, who towers over him at 6 feet.
Angus’s one-in-the-world status has made him a bit of a celebrity in his home town of Macclesfield. His story has been covered by a swath of British media outlets including the local Macclesfield Express.
One common theme to the stories about Angus is that he has not let his little stature, nor the long list of health issues and some 40 surgeries, get him down.
“Angus is a really happy little boy. Whenever things are going his way he is delightful. He has this brilliant dirty laugh that is so infectious and always has people smiling,” his mother told the Macclesfield Express.
The surgeries began soon after Angus was born. He needed surgery to correct a heart defect and talipes, better known as clubfoot. He also has some vertebrae in his back that are only partially formed.
Angus later developed meningitis and had to have surgery to treat gastro-oesophageal reflux. More recently he had to undergo a gastrostomy so he could get a feeding tube inserted.
But unlike a lot of other teenagers, he loves going to school and gets along swimmingly with his older brother.
“Angus loves just hanging out, especially with his brother, who dotes on him. He also likes observing other people. He’s got a devious streak and seems to enjoy other people’s misfortune, roaring with laughter. He’s a bright boy but his learning disability means he just can’t say what he wants to say,” Palmes told the Macclesfield Express.
As far as how long Angus will live or how he will develop in the years ahead, nobody knows.
There are no records of anyone else in the world having the same condition and no prognosis of what may come.
The challenge of raising a child that never grows up has been trying at times for his mother, but she said she has gotten used to it and there has been help along the way.
Health services and charities provide some essential assistance, especially Macclesfield’s Learning Disability CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health services) team. Park Lane School, which Angus attends and which specializes in teaching children with communication difficulties, has also been a tremendous help.
Angus also received some recent help from Newlife, a charity that provides equipment to terminally ill and disabled children.
Newlife gave the Palmeses a $2,800 portable safety sleeper to help protect Angus when he stays at his dad’s house or in temporary care a handful of nights each month.
Angus does have his interests as well, particularly his favourite movies: “The Jungle Book,” “Curious George,” and “Fantasia.”
Palmes told the Daily Mail her little boy can watch those over and over again.