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Twin sisters from Aberdeen Erin and Neve Mortimer have been inseparable since birth, but when school starts on Thursday they will be taking different paths.
While four-year-old Erin gets ready to take her first daunting steps in primary one, Neve will be going back to nursery.
That’s because she has been diagnosed with Ring 18 Mosaic, a chromosome disorder so rare that it affects only one in two billion children.
The condition has affected her development, meaning she reaches milestones such as learning to walk and talk later than her peers and struggles to process information.
Because of the extreme rarity of the condition, her parents are unable to tell exactly how her childhood will progress, but they say they are taking each day as it comes.
Her father, Derek Mortimer, told STV News: “To look at her she’s essentialy a normal little girl. However, if you compare her to a computer, the operating system would be Windows 7 whereas Neve is probably operating on Windows 95. So she’s two or three operating systems behind.
“It takes her a while to process information and things we take for granted like this conversation is a big thing for her.”
Mother Fiona said one of the most difficult features of the condition was not knowing what the future might hold.
She said: “You’re obviously hoping the best but you just don’t know. With Erin being so small you just can’t believe it’s time for her to go. Obviously you want them both to be going on the same day and things like that, so it’s mixed emotions, definitely.”