Girl, 6, told she ‘looks a state’ by cruel strangers due to rare hair condition

A schoolgirl with a rare condition constantly has to bat off strangers to “try to grab” her unique hair.

Florence Patterson, from Newcastle, has the same rare disorder that Albert Einstein is believed to have had.

It’s called Uncombable Hair Syndrome and prevents her from combining her fuzzy locks flat.

And Florence’s parents Jill Peddie-Jones, 43, and Kyle Patteson, 49, say they have faced cruel comments as a result.

The mum and dad have seen passers-by staring and even overheard them exclaiming “look at the state of that child”.

Instead of letting these comments get them down, the family are teaching Florence to embrace her mane.

Florence Patterson, six, from Newcastle, has uncombable hair syndrome

Consultant Jill, from Newcastle, said: “Florence is aware that everyone stares at her.

“Strangers touch her or grab her hair so we’ve taught her to tell them off and tell people that they can’t touch her.

“It’s been pointed out that her hair is similar to Einstein’s.

“We get quite a lot of derogatory comments about how we should have brushed her hair or comments like ‘look at the state of that child’.

“It does make you angry, but you have to walk away.”

Kyle Patterson with wife Laura and children Amelia, Heidi and Florence
Kyle Patterson with children Amelia, Heidi and Florence

Jill continued: “It was strange after lockdown, when we started going out again, because I had forgotten how much attention she gets.

“Wherever we go, people walk past with their mouths wide open.

“We do get nice comments as well but most of the negative attention she gets is from adults, they aren’t as accepting as kids.

“Everyone in the area knows her as the baby with the hair.”

Lawyer Kyle added: “Florence is confident, that’s how we’ve brought her up.

“She’s always attracting attention whether it’s wanted or unwanted so she needs to be prepared for that in later life.”

Florence Patterson, six, from Newcastle, has uncombable hair syndrome
Florence’s parents encourage her to embrace her unique hair

Kyle said: “We don’t want it to define her but we know that some people will define her by her hair so she just need to embrace it.

“It’s part of her personality. People have accepted her at school and she’s got loads of friends because her personality shines through.”

The year one pupil has three sisters, Laura, 20, Amelia, 15, and Heidi, 12, none of which have the syndrome.

Florence, who was diagnosed with Uncombable Hair Syndrome at the age of three, manages the condition with the help of her family.

Kyle said: “[Combing her hair] is impossible to do.

“We’ve found our own way to manage it which is to wash it in the bath, not in the shower because it doesn’t soak up water and will stay bone dry, towel dry it, leave the conditioner in, scrunch it and pick out all of the dreadlocks which takes ages but the next day she’ll have the most fabulous, blonde curls.”

The dad continued: “Then the next day it’s frizzy again.

“If you try to manage it in a way that you’d manage normal hair, you’re fighting a losing battle.

“We’ve also been advised not to do that because her hair just comes out and it’s very uncomfortable for her.

“The condition also makes her nails grow incredibly fast. We have to trim them once or twice a week…

“Luckily Florence’s condition isn’t more serious but if there are parents out there thinking their child might have the condition they should go to the GP because it could be something more serious.”


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