Real-Life 'Wonder' Kids Talk About Their Lives and How They 'Shake Off' Bullying

Five children with Treacher Collins syndrome sit down with PEOPLE to discuss their lives and how they deal with bullying

The new movie, Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, follows a young boy named August Pullman who was born with facial differences (author R.J. Palacio has said his condition is based on the genetic disorder Treacher Collins). The film is shining a spotlight on the hardships people endure when they have a condition that disfigures their appearance.

People Now sat down with five children who have such disorders—including Treachers Collins syndrome, Van der Woode syndrome, Nager Syndrome, Goldenhar Syndrome and cleft lip and palate—to discuss their lives and how they deal with adversity. The kids, who age from 9 to 13, have all learned to deal with often rude questions from strangers about their condition. Often, they have to cope with bullying, but they have remained resilient through it all.

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Dale Robinette

“Don’t let anyone make fun of you, they’re not going to be important in your life,” 11-year-old Ana Perez, who was born with a cleft lip and palate, says about facing bullying. “Know you can overcome it.”

The children hope Wonder, based on the popular YA novel by R. J. Palacio, will help to show audiences nationwide that they deserved to be treated with kindness, and, as 13-year-old Flossy Fogarty tells People Now, how they look on the outside doesn’t reflect who they are on the inside.

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