A 22-year-old woman who lives life stuck in 'the body of an eight-year-old' has opened up about how she gets people to treat her as an adult.
Shauna Rae, from Long Island, stands at just 3ft 10in tall and only weighs about 50 pounds due to a form of medical dwarfism.
You can find out one surprising way Shauna attempts to 'look older' below:
It was a traumatic start to life for Shauna, who had an aggressive cancerous tumour at the age of just six months old.
The surgeons were able to remove the tumour and Shauna was later declared cancer free, but the chemotherapy had much longer-lasting effects on this young woman.
Shauna’s dwarfism was noticed at kindergarten, with many of the other children standing at least a foot taller than her.
However, it was not until the age of 16 when doctors revealed that Shauna would not grow any more.
Her bones had already fused together and with a pituitary gland close to dormant, any further growth looked extremely unlikely.
Despite being given growth hormones, Shauna has remained small in stature and leads a very different life to a typical 22-year-old woman.
She says in TLC Australia documentary I Am Shaun Rae: “I didn't have this realisation that I wasn't going to be normal until I was 16. In that moment, the world shattered.
“I want to live my life like my friends and sisters do, but I need my mother, father and the rest of the world to realise that I'm an adult.”
Shauna understandably struggles with other people’s child-like perceptions of her, and we see these difficulties first hand when she sits at bar in the documentary.
After attracting some embarrassing stares and being told that children are not allowed at the bar, Shauna presents her ID to reveal her actual age.
Shauna also struggles with the way in which she is viewed compared to her her 24-year-old sister Tara.
She says: “It is difficult seeing my other friends and family being more independent, but I don't envy or have any jealousy towards Tara and what choices she has made in her life, whether that's going to college or moving out.
“But I think it's entirely unfair that my parents treat us differently as we're only two years apart.”
We also see the 22-year-old head off to a local brewery with her two friends, and hopes that acting like an adult will improve her own confidence.
She even revealed she took up vaping as a way to 'look older'.
She says: “I’ve always been attracted to that edgy lifestyle with the tattoos, the piercings, vaping or doing anything adult-esque.
"It wasn't to show anyone else that I'm an adult, but to prove to myself that I'm an adult.”
She has also tried online dating and is looking for ways to meet new people, but stressed she doesn’t need a boyfriend to become more independent.
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