A child’s first day of school can be a daunting experience – both for the new student and their anxious parents.
But when your child is just a little bit different – like five-year-old Floyd Henry Morley – the first day of school brings with it a whole new host of challenges.
Floyd was born with a rare form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia.
People with Achondroplasia typically have short arms and legs, an enlarged head and an average-sized torso.
60 Minutes first met Floyd and his family in 2014 when he was just 5 months old.
After the initial shock of Floyd’s diagnosis – which came completely at random – parents Jade and Ross decided to share their experience with their family and friends online.
Their emotional video, posted to Facebook in the weeks after Floyd’s diagnosis, went viral.
“We’re happy to have a unique little boy who is alive and well,” Ross said in the video.
“We are not sad because we feel so grateful that we have him with us today,” confirmed Jade.
For five years they’ve shared their family life and Floyd’s progress on Facebook and Instagram, raising awareness and sharing information about Floyd’s dwarfism.
Now, at the age of five, Floyd has started kindergarten – a huge milestone he was excited to share with 60 Minutes.
“I guess I’m nervous about not being able to help him. Hopefully he will feel ok with answering the kids’ questions,” Jade told the program.
“I’m sure he’ll be absolutely fine but you get a little bit emotional… that everyone is going to be really kind to him and not throw too many questions at him.
“Hopefully he’ll be like every other kid.”
Jade and Floyd have been preparing for this day for a number of months, with mum and son doing ‘role-play’ of how Floyd can answer his classmates questions.
“We say, ‘Floyd, what do you say if someone asks you how old you are, or how come you’re so small?’ And he just responds with, ‘I’m five years old, and my bones don’t grow quickly. That’s why I’m smaller.'”
While mum and dad have been anxious, his new school – St Anthony’s Primary in Kingscliff in Northern NSW – couldn’t wait to have the spirited Floyd in the classroom.
The school has been proactive in making adjustments and changes to the classrooms and school grounds so that every space is accessible for Floyd.
And the verdict is that Floyd’s first day at ‘big-kid school’ was a huge success.
“I just hope that he’s really happy, and he can embrace who he is, the way that we have embraced who he is,”” Jade said.
“It’s just Floyd. Just small, that’s all!”