Frequently Asked Questions written by Journee who has Achondroplasia dwarfism.

Maybe you have seen a short statured person at your local shopping centre or you watch Game of Thrones and your favourite character is played by Peter Dinklage or you’re just curious to how someone with dwarfism lives their life.

How does Dwarfism happen?

1) Hereditary – Inherited from one or both parents who are affected by dwarfism.
2) Random Mutation on a gene causing dwarfism – showing that ANYONE in the world can have a child with dwarfism.
3) Lack of Pituitary Hormone causing dwarfism – which results in a more proportionate stature.

– What does it mean when you say “LP”?
Little Person. (Little people.)  You can also say short statured or living with dwarfism when talking about the condition itself.

It’s actually really cool if you chose to call someone by their first name and then address them as someone who happens to have “short stature/dwarfism”. Then we can move on and talk about something far more interesting. Like Miley Cyrus or where to get the best pizza in Brisbane.

– Do you wear dolls clothes

No, I don’t know any other short statured person who has to wear doll clothes. In fact I wear Sass and Bide, Staple, Ksubi, Sportsgirl, Mink Pink etc. I love leather leggings, studs and that whole Kate Moss just don’t care look. LP girls love fashion as much as any AVERAGE height girl.

Thanks to little girls wanting to dress trendy I now have even more options for shoes. So  no need for dolls clothes or someone to make me clothes.

Of course parents of children with short stature end up being super clever and making things for their child which I think is pretty neat.

– Rough Stats?
Achondroplasia: between one in 25,000 and one in 40,000 births. This is the most common form.
SED: one in 95,000 births
Diastrophic dysplasia: one in 110,000 births
All types of dwarfism: something like one in 10,000 births
(taken from The Greenberg Centre at Johns Hopkins Medical Centre)

– Have you always had dwarfism?
Yes. I’ve been asked if I caught the “disease” somehow. Dwarfism isn’t a disease.

– Terminology
The correct words to use are: dwarfism, dwarf, living with dwarfism, short stature. I know individuals who don’t like it when you say “normal height and dwarfism” it gives the connotation that someone with dwarfism isn’t “normal”.

Avoid using the word MIDGET. It is a derogatory slang word that is pretty much on par as calling someone the “N” word.

– Can you go out and about by yourself? Shop? Change your oil? Cook?
Absolutely. In fact many people living with dwarfism travel overseas, study in different countries (I know a few who have even gained scholarships from respectable colleges across the world and have moved to fulfil their dreams), raised families, own their own businesses, work with the President of the United States (Google Rebecca Cokley).

– Do you get stared at?
Yes. I’ve even had people yell out abuse from their cars, had beer bottles thrown at me, been pushed, shoved, followed, taunted. It’s not fun and can be quite depressing. I’d like to get to a point where Australia is on par with the US where my fellow country  men are educated and understanding to the needs of someone with dwarfism and just view them as a human being and not a spectacle.

– My child doesn’t have dwarfism, but is staring and pointing at someone who does. What do you recommend?
It’s always great and ideal to educate kids while their young about any kind of difference – look at the world we live in, today. It is such a smorgasbord of difference. A person with dwarfism is just that; a person. If your child is laughing or snickering it’s best to teach your child that 1) it’s rude to laugh and point at anyone regardless of whether they are fat, really tall, black, Asian etc. 2) explain that the said individual has dwarfism and his/her bones don’t grow as fast or as longs as yours but they are a person like you.

– Can you do things an ‘average’ person can do?
Absolutely. I’ve travelled, lived in NYC, had a baby – even took my then 6 month old on a flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles (13 hours) by MYSELF. I’ve gone to fashion school, (then dropped out), I’ve studied business, I’ve held many Government jobs in policy law divisions. I drive a car, I wash my own clothes, I get my own petrol for my car, I’ve completed 5k races, I ride a bike, I’ve done the whole clubbing partying scene,

– I don’t know you, but can I take your pictures?
This is very controversial. I know LOTS of short statured people/LP’s who hate their photos being taken because usually they are used against their will and posted online with negative rude comments. I personally hate my photo being taken without my consent. It’s best you don’t take a photo but if you’re soooo adamant you should ask.

– Can I email you and ask a couple of questions? Or just to say hello?

Books on Dwarfism:

“Little People in America” by Joan Ablon : “Who Says I’m Small” by J.B. Tischendorf

“Never Sell Yourself Short” by Stephanie Riggs : “Thinking Big” by Susan Culkin

“I’m Just Small, That’s All” by Karalee Braithwaite : “Short Stature” by Elaine Landau

“Memories of a Munchkin” by Meinhardt Raabe & D. Kinske : “Maybe the Moon” by A. Maupin

“Dwarfs Don’t Live in Doll Houses” by Angela Van Etten : “Against Tall Odds” by Matt Roloff

“Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter’s Eyes” by Dan Kennedy

“Little People Big Lives” by Carole Lander

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