AliceAnn Meyer
AliceAnn Mayer's four-year-old son, Jameson, has a craniofacial disorder which resulted in the boy (right) having large eyes and small nose. Facebook/AliceAnn Meyer

It was a social media victory for Texas mum AliceAnn Meyer when she got cruel memes, which used her son’s photo, removed from different Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Her four-year-old son, Jameson, has a craniofacial disorder which resulted in the boy having large eyes and small nose.

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Because of those facial features, someone used the photo to make a meme which compared Jameson to a pug dog. The meme-maker used a photo of Jameson that AliceAnn posted in 2014 in which his face was covered in chocolate and marshmallow, reports the New York Daily News.

Jameson has Pfeiffer syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the head and face’s shape. According to FACES, the National Craniofacial Association, the syndrome, first reported in 1964, is the result of the premature fusion of the skull’s sutures and its deformity. In the case of Jameson, he has ocular proptosis, characterised by bulging wide-set eyes due to shallow eye sockets.

Other characteristics of Pfeiffer syndrome include craniosynostosis wherein the skull is prematurely fused and does not grow normally, mid-face underdevelopment, big toes and short but broad thumbs, and possible webbing of the feet and hands. The disorder occurs not because of what the mother did when she was pregnant. It is likely caused by changes in the gene FGFR 1 and FGFR 2 which is mapped to chromosome’s 8 and 10.

Four types of surgeries could be done to treat children with the disorder to help them grow up with normal intelligence and normal lives. These are surgical advancement of the mid-face, orthodontics, jaw surgery and frontal orbital advancement for the skull to grow properly and to increase the eye socket’s size.

AliceAnn says she was disheartened when she saw the memes which were in different languages and shared on different social media sites. She is aware that having a child with differences runs the risk of being treated differently. When she saw the memes, she posted her anger at it, and supporters worked to have the offensive images removed. She filed copyright violation claims for unauthorised use of Jameson’s photo.

While she is aware that it would be difficult to discover who made the meme, she vowed to do everything in her power to take down every post and share of the meme of her son whom AliceAnn describes as a fantastic boy. Although the experience was hurtful, she sees in the incident an opportunity for people to be aware of Pfeiffer syndrome.

The John Hopkins Medical Institutions is conducting a current study on Pfeiffer syndrome. FACES is encouraging parents whose child has the disorder to participate in the research.