Four-year-old living with primordial dwarfism

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Four-year-old Joseph Spina is part of a unique group.

"They say that once you meet one you'll never meet another," says Spina's mother Annette Kortman.

He's believed to be one of only 100 people in the world living with primordial dwarfism.

"He's just of the smallest forms of dwarfs," says Kortman.

He stands 32 inches and weighs 13 and half pounds. The average four year old boy is about 40 inches tall and weighs 38 pounds.  But, Joseph doesn't allow his small stature to hold him back.

"Even though we tell him he's smaller, he just tries to do everything that any other child his age can do," says Kortman.

Joseph wasn't supposed to make it this far. He's faced kidney failure and brain tumor scares but has made it through. Right now, his only major health concern is diabetes. But, his mother says, at times, his biggest obstacle is getting others to look beyond his condition.

"Just treat him like everybody else. Come and ask questions, instead of staring at him cause it hurts his feelings," says Kortman.

"When you look at him, he's just a person," says his brother Gaetano.

Though smaller than most, Joseph doesn't let his size or age stop him from making himself heard even when he can't express himself with words.

"He's taught me at least 20 or 30 signs. They come in handy. 'Cause most of the ones he uses, he uses them everyday," says Gaetano Kortman.

And everyday his family says Joseph is teaching them some important life lessons.

"You just gotta enjoy life how it is."