Mum Charlene Beswick has told how her son was called a ‘Halloween monster’ by cruel bullies.
The 38-year-old’s son Harry has faced mean taunts all his life after he was born without a left nostril, eye socket and left ear.
She has even been on the receiving end of vile abuse on social media because of the way 12-year-old Harry looks.
But Charlene, from Biddulph, admits it is Harry’s twin brother Oliver who gets the most upset by the name calling.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, she said: “When he was a baby, children would cry and run away from him.
“They would point and follow him around. He has been called a freak, a Halloween monster, ugly boy – he has been called a lot of names like that.
“I am quite active on social media as well and we have had vile comments, one said he was an abomination of God. But, because of his autism, he is largely unaware of these things, but it is hard for Oliver.
“Oliver wants to protect him and it is really difficult for him at times. I deal with a lot of abuse on Harry’s behalf.”
Charlene’s pregnancy had gone according to plan until she went into early labour at 32 weeks and she was told Harry only had half a face.
The tot was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and later diagnosed with Goldenhar syndrome.
Supply teacher Charlene said: “When I first heard of his condition, I was stunned and in complete disbelief. I didn’t think they had got it right.
“Then I just felt guilt and thought: ‘What have I done to him? Was it something I ate?’. I exhausted myself thinking what I had done.
“Then I grieved and some parents won’t agree with that – but parents who have a child with special needs totally get it.
“I grieved for the life he would never have. When you become a parent, you think about them having a girlfriend or boyfriend and wonder whether they will travel or what they will become and having those things taken away, I just felt really helpless.”
After being born Harry was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and it was a week before Charlene, who admitted she suffered post-natal depression after his birth, got to see him.
She added that she wouldn’t have terminated the pregnancy if she had known.
Charlene said: “I was obviously very under-prepared but I had a brilliant pregnancy and I think, if I had known, I would have just been so worried throughout.
“We look at scans now and Oliver’s profile is very defined but Harry’s is just one big mass. We just thought he had his head turned away.
“I do remember just looking at him and seeing my failure. I was just numb.
“I look back now and just wish I had been able to see him for what he was – which was a very gorgeous baby boy.
“He had a big blue eye that was so twinkly and a gorgeous smile.”
She also praised Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where Harry has undergone many surgeries since the age of two.
He has a prosthetic ear and a fake eye and will need further operations to reposition his eye and possibly construct a nasal passage.
Charlene said: “They have been great. They are very experienced and knowledgeable but they don’t pretend they can replicate what Mother Nature didn’t do.
“We have such a laugh with his ear, he pulls it off and we even lost it the other week.
“He is just such a loving, amazing boy. He has just got this way about him that people just love him, he is just incredible.”
Charlene has now written a book called ‘Our Altered Life’ – and hopes it will help other parents.
She said: “It has taken me about 10 years to publish this book because I would start and then stop writing it.
“There are books on autism, there are books on parenting but there is nothing on coping with a child that looks different to what you expected.
“And I just hope it helps other parents with that.”