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My name is Louiselle St-Pierre. I was director of the AQPPT for 18 years. I was the first person with dwarfism in Quebec to claim rights as a disabled person, such as getting the home adaptation program for people with disabilities. As a result, our house has been adapted to suit my needs and those of my spouse of average size: lower kitchen counters, kitchen faucet within my reach, built-in oven with door opening on the side for easy access, a heating plate for improved ergonomics when I'm cooking, lower outside stairs, etc.

With a deep sense of solidarity, through my experience, I have encouraged several people with dwarfism and their families to live in the most ergonomic and responsive environment as possible, since in daily life and in all public places, we constantly confront an inappropriate architecture. In this manner, I have helped those who wanted to follow suit do so at the level of prevention for their health and that of their child, after I convinced them how essential this was. I have also been a pioneer for the rights of people with dwarfism and have contributed to their development and well-being.

I was born in 1948 in the Bas-du-Fleuve, where there were not many of us with dwarfism. My type of dwarfism, dyschondrosteosis, manifested itself, among other signs, by a deformity of the knee (bent to 40 degrees) that only allowed me to walk on the tips of my toes, my heels not touching the ground, which constantly unbalanced me. While working at the Association, I learned from a parent of a child of small stature that there was a world-renown health expert, Dr. Steven E. Kopits, who had a specialized clinic in Baltimore exclusively for people with dwarfism. Since my physical condition as a little person was rare, he was the only one who could operate on me and successfully correct my malformations. This specialist also made me aware of the need, as a little person, to adapt my physical environment so as to protect my health and prevent the premature wear of my frame.

In the years between 1991 and 1993, I underwent surgery of the hips and knees and went through a long rehabilitation period. Back in my position of coordinator with the AQPPT and more determined than ever, I dedicated myself to defend the rights of people with dwarfism and worked for several years to have little people recognized as disabled persons. This new recognition has enabled us to benefit from the programs and measures that are designed for us, in particular regarding taxation, adaptation and rehabilitation, and assisting technologies.

As a sensitive person, I was able to develop services providing support for members as well as information and training to empower them to stand up for their rights and get what they need. Furthermore, aware as I was of deficiencies in technical support, I have worked, hand-in-hand with some companies, to create certain aids such as bicycles and ergonomic work chairs, custom-made for little people (children and adults).

Married to a man of average size, I have not had any children. The AQPPT has been, so to speak, my baby, to which I have dedicated most of my energies. In 2005, however, I went on sick leave to rebuild my strength and undergo further knee surgery. Yet, I have not lost my enthusiasm or my zest for life as the sun always shines.



January 2009



© 2011 AQPPT - Translated by George Bravo and Judy Murphy