Dwarfism 101

One of my goals is to use this blog to dispel some of the misconceptions people have of the dwarf community. People unfortunately get the stereotypical conception of little people due to ignorance. Ignorance comes from how we are portrayed in movies and television.

Let me first start off with the Wikipedia meaning of dwarfism.Dwarfism is short stature resulting from an abnormal medical condition. It is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches although this definition is problematic because short stature in itself is not a disease.

Dwarfism can be caused by over 200 distinct medical conditions and as such the symptoms and characteristics of individual dwarfs vary greatly. The most common of these conditions is Achondroplasia. I am an achondroplasia dwarf. 70% of the dwarfs in America are Achondroplasia. In Achondroplasia the trunk is normally sized with the limbs being disproportionately short, the head being larger than usual, and the forehead being prominent. Other popular types of dwarfism are Diastrophic Dysplasia and Pseudoachondroplasia . My husband falls under the Diastrophic Dysplasia type. His diagnosis is Kneist syndrome which is a really rare form of dwarfism.

Now to our question and answer section. I am going to answer some of the common questions I get asked when people first meet me.

1. Is your family like you? In most cases the answer is ‘No’. My family is average size. Average size people have dwarf babies(I know you are shocked). One in every 40,000 births an Achondroplasia baby is born. Kneist is one in every 500,000 births. My husband is truly a rare find and wasn’t I Iucky to find him!

2.Do you live in a small house? Okay the two times I was asked this my reply was ‘Where the hell do you think I live?’ ‘Do you think I live in Lilliput?’. Honestly folks do not be that ignorant. We live in normal houses in normal neighborhoods. Our houses may have some adaptive equipment but the houses are what you live in not playhouses.

3.Is your furniture small? Again I refer back to the Lilliput reference. Unless I am missing something when I go to Lazy Boy or Ethan Allen, furniture comes in one size. I do not buy my furniture from the Kebbler Elves. Lazy Boy offers better financing than the Kebbler Elves. Those Elves rip you off!

4.Where do you buy your Clothes? Same stores you do. After we buy clothes, they have to be tailored. This is the part that most little people get ticked at. We pay double the price for our clothing because of the tailoring involved. It sucks but you can’t go around naked.

5. Why can’t I call you Midget? The term Midget is very offense to us. It is exactly like using the ‘N’ word to describe African Americans. Not cool and very derogatory. It is also an off base reference. A midget is in proportion and is very short. Again probably the dwarf you are seeing is Achondroplasia which are not in proportion. Midgets are no longer in existence since discovering that they can grow through injections of growth hormones. So please teach your kids to use terms like ‘little people’ or ‘dwarfs’ when describing people like me.

6. If you have kids, will they be little like you? Yes and no. If two dwarfs have a baby. The baby has a 50/50 chance of being a dwarf. If a dwarf and an average height person have a baby, the chance is 25%. Now here is where it gets complicated. If two dwarfs of different types have a baby, the chances are 25% for each type of dwarfism, 25% of having both dwarfism characteristics(which is really bad health wise) and 25% it will be average size. The part that the baby can have both types of dwarfism, lead me and my husband to the decision to adopt.

7.Finally ‘Do you have Sex’? Given my answer for number 6, yes. I will not get into the specifics. I will let your dirty little mind go wild with this question.

Also another pet peeve of mine, we all don’t look alike. Everyone mistakes us for another dwarf they have seen. I have been mistaken for Amy Roloff, the dog trainer from Pet Smart and worse the horrible check out lady at the grocery store. I don’t have blonde hair so I am not Amy Roloff. The Pet smart girl was about a foot shorter than me and had green eyes. I can’t even describe to you what the checkout girl at the Giant Eagle looked like(Hagar the horrible comes to mind). I know my girlfriends in Pittsburgh are laughing now. So please make sure it is the dwarf you know before going ‘Hey you worked late last night at the Giant Eagle!’. Ugghhh….!

I hope that I cleared up some misconceptions. I love having this blog and I feel it will be a great way to spread correct information about dwarfs.

Have a great weekend and stay tuned. I promise a scrapbooking Project soon!

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