Living with Dwarfism

 
 
 
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Living with Dwarfism

 

Living with dwarfism is not only about being smaller than everyone else. Little people are, by definition and from birth, people who have functional limitations and handicaps. They are limited not only medically by the various complications that often accompany dwarfism (see the section Problems and Complications), but also architecturally by the world around them built for much larger people.

As a result, in many every day life situations, little people meet difficulties related to:

  • The height of furniture and accessories, service counters, ATMs, parking meters, store shelves, etc.
  • The height of steps in buildings or on public transit.
  • The weight of doors in buildings and the metro.
  • The width/breadth of furniture, such as reaching the faucet across the sink.
  • Fatigue from walking long distances because shorter legs require more steps.
  • Accelerated deterioration of health primarily due to the premature use of bones.
  • Inability to carry grocery bags without them dragging on the ground.
  • Increased risk when walking outside, for example, crossing the street or a parking lot where cars cannot see them.
  • Discriminatory attitudes, constant prejudice, mean looks, and sometimes insults.

When teaching people what it’s like to be a little person, we sometimes ask people of regular stature to do the following experiment:

  • Put an object in the middle of the table
  • Get on your knees
  • Hold your elbows in close to your body
  • Now, reach the object without standing up or moving your upper arms

Try it and you will find yourself for a few moments in the shoes of a person who has disproportionate dwarfism (with shorter arms). With that in mind, it is possible to overcome such difficulties and obstacles, and to diminish their impact on the quality of life of little people. At the Quebec Association of Little People, meetings, whether formal or informal, and discussions are very important because they allow people to share useful information.

 

 

 
 

© 2011 AQPPT - Translated by George Bravo and Judy Murphy