In Wonder, Auggie Pullman reveals that he was born with a condition called mandibulofacial dysostosis, which is more commonly known as Treacher Collins Syndrome. This condition is very rare, occurring in only 1 in 50, births.
It gets its name from surgeon Edward Treacher Collins, who first described its traits in Treacher Collins Syndrome affects the development of bones and other facial tissues.
How prevalent the signs and symptoms of this disorder are can vary greatly.
In some children the condition is almost unnoticeable, but in others, like Auggie, the symptoms are severe. Hallmarks of this syndrome are underdeveloped cheek bones, a small jaw and chin, a cleft palate, and eyes that slant downward.
But these abnormalities can have effects that go beyond appearance. Underdeveloped facial bones may restrict an infant's airway, resulting in respiratory problems.
Some of the eye abnormalities can lead to vision loss, and unusual ear formation may result in hearing loss.
Auggie experiences this last problem and eventually requires hearing aids in order to hear properly. TCS cannot be cured, but certain treatments may address its symptoms.
"I remember thinking, 'Oh my goodness, this is Auggie Pullman come to life.'"
Plastic surgery can help to normalize facial structure, and other procedures can be undertaken to correct jaw problems, cleft palates, and other facial abnormalities. Surgery can also address hearing and vision problems.
Some children born with TCS have problems speaking; if this is the case, the child may be sent to speech therapy from an early age. Palacio was inspired to write Wonder after taking her son to buy ice cream one day and witnessing him cry when a girl with facial birth defects sat next to him.
She tried to move her son away so as not to upset the girl and her family, but an ice Via is having a crying meldown and things are tense at the house. Auggie grabs bleeding Scream costume from last year because he can put it on by himself and so that his dad can get out the door more quickly.
Jacob Tremblay and Nathaniel Newman speak together onstage at WE Day Seattle
Wonder study guide contains a biography of R. Palacio, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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Study Guide for Wonder Wonder study guide contains a biography of R.