New film ‘Wonder’ shines spotlight on Treacher Collins syndrome

Posted: Updated:

The new movie "Wonder" is bringing national attention to what life is like for children living with congenital facial disfigurement.

A 12-year-old girl from Dix Hills is battling the disease, and battling the misconceptions that often go along with it. Hannah Klein has Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents the skull, cheek and jawbones from developing properly.

The seventh-grader has undergone 23 surgical procedures to help her breathe, eat and hear. She faces a lifetime of procedures as she matures.

Klein's mom Stacy explains that the bottom part of Hannah's face won't grow in proportion to the top part, so as she ages, her jaw will become more recessed, restricting her airway.

Stacy Klein says Hannah’s journey has been a struggle, because most people don't understand. She's hoping the new film "Wonder" will help others understand the challenges people can face because they are different.

The Kleins hope the movie will urge people to be more sensitive to all families with special-needs children.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Hannah and her family through this journey,” said Dr. David Staffenberg, Pediatric Plastic Surgery, NYU Langone Health. “At NYU Langone, not only have many surgical techniques been pioneered here, but we have a multidisciplinary team of healthcare specialist that can give people with facial differences the advanced care that they need. And through our partnership with myFace, patients like Hannah are embraced by other patients and families with similar differences, enabling them to share their experiences with those who understand.”

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