Dwarfism Awareness Month {Part 3}

This is post 3 in my dwarfism awareness series. See post 1 HERE and post 2 HERE!

Last night I sat down with Katie and asked her a few questions about being little. She was eager to share. Katie’s answers are italicized.

How does being little effect you?

Being little doesn’t really effect anything in my life besides my size. 

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How do you feel about being little?

I like being little because I’m unique and different from others. 

9 Belated Halloween 11-19-06

Katie at Zoo 10-14-06

How do you feel when people stare at you?

It doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to it. Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t but it’s just part of my life.

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Do people ever call you mean names?

Not usually but people will tease. They say in an ugly voice “Why are you so little?”

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How do you feel about the word midget?

It doesn’t really bother me because people don’t understand that it’s a really mean word. 

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Do people ever call you that word?

Barely. A lot of people at school understand that I’m a little person. My friend Carson (who is also little) has come to my school and talked about it to spread awareness and my mom has taught the teachers and students that midget isn’t a nice word and picking on me because of my size isn’t right. 

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Isn’t she sweet? Obviously I have a bias, but it was a lot of fun to hear how she feels.

Now, I wanna touch on something a little more serious.

Midget.

The m-word. That’s what we call it.

But like Katie said, people use it simply because they don’t understand how mean it is.

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I feel that as an advocate for dwarfism and as someone who stands up for what LPA is trying to do, I have to take a stand against the m-word. There are people who compare this word to the n-word. Is the n-word ever acceptable? No. That is how you should feel about the m-word. It’s derogatory, belittling, demeaning, and makes reference to circus acts.

It hurts me to hear people refer to my baby (not-so-baby) sister as a circus act. Physically hurts me. But I also know I need to give grace to those that simply do not understand the negativity that comes along with using that word.

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If you see a little person and are wondering what you refer to them as? Short stature, Little person, LP, and person with dwarfism are all acceptable and respectful.

But the most preferred terminology is simply the person’s name. Please, let that sink in.

If you think that midget is acceptable and respectful I beg you to look a little further at the meaning of the word and decide against using it in all situations – not just situations where a little person is involved.

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Do you feel informed? I feel more informed after writing these posts. Leave your questions in the comments! We love hearing from you and Katie (obviously) loves answering questions.

Thanks for listening! Happy Day!

Love, The Jaderstons

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Dwarfism Awareness Month {Part 2}

This is post 2 in my dwarfism awareness series! If you missed post 1 you can find it HERE.

Today will be all about Katie.

She is a spunky little girl with lots of energy and a hilarious personality.

When you first meet her she will act shy – very shy – but once you crack open her shell you might have a hard time getting her to calm down.

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She was born into a family of all girls and a dad. Her oldest sister is 16 years older than her, I am 14 years older, and Maddie is 10 years older than her. She has lots of ladies looking out for her, one protective older brother in-law, and a very loving dad.

If you asked her about her height she’d say something quick and to the point…

“God made me little”

“I’m a little person”

“It’s just how I am”

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If you tell her she’s too little to do something her response is likely…

“I can do everything you can do, I just might do it a little differently”

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She can get up off the ground without using her hands and she is the best headstander I have ever known.

She loves gymnastics and is involved in girl scouts (who wants cookies??)

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She loves PE and is better at the pacer test than I ever was.

It took her a little while longer to learn how to ride a bike because it’s hard to find a bike small enough for her shorter legs. She’s a master bike rider now though.

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She has also spent a lot of time learning how to swim. A four – five year old can usually touch the bottom of the shallow end. Being able to touch the bottom of the pool is significant in learning how to swim. Katie is ten now and can brush her toes along the bottom of the pool, but can’t really rest from swimming until she gets to the steps. She takes swim lessons every summer to ensure that she remains a strong swimmer. And gosh she loves to swim.

She is the size of a 4 year old so sometimes people treat her that way. But she is ten and needs to be treated like a ten year old. She doesn’t like to be babied, but she doesn’t say no to a piggy back ride when we are walking really far.

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Her support system and friends love her well and really look out for her, but she’s tough and can pretty much look out for herself.

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Sure, sometimes it’s not fun being littler than everyone else. But she takes it in stride and is always willing to catch up.

Again, if you have any questions about dwarfism, comment below!

Love, The Jaderstons

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Dwarfism Awareness Month {Part 1}

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month!

2013 LPA Dwarfism Awareness Flyer (Final)

This week I am spreading awareness with a three post series about dwarfism – mostly focusing on achondroplasia.

10 years ago a squishy little girl was born. Her name is Katherine Maxine, but she goes by Katie.

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She was diagnosed at two weeks old with Achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism.

We’ll start with the facts…

Little People of America (LPA) defines dwarfism as “a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10″ or shorter, among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that.”

As mentioned before, achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism, but there are more than 200 different types of dwarfism.

Achondroplasia is a genetic condition that results in disproportionately short arms and legs. There is typically a larger head with a prominent forehead and a low nasal bridge.

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Intelligence is not affected in people with achondroplasia dwarfism.

The average height of a male with achondroplasia is 4’4″ and a female with achondroplasia is 4’1″.

There are some medical complications that come with achondroplasia, but not all achondroplasia cases experience them. For my little sister, she experienced sleep apnea as a baby, has had tubes put in her ears, and recently had her tonsils and adenoids removed – all of which can happen in average height kids too!

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Achondroplasia is a genetic condition. Both of Katie’s parents (my parents) are average height and Katie could someday have an average height child of her own! Just because Katie is little does not mean her future lineage will also be little.

Ok, that’s the nitty gritty about achondroplasia (the abridged version because whoa – there is a lot to know about achondroplasia dwarfism) If you have other questions about dwarfism please ask and we (my mom and I) will try to answer.

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You’re also welcome for these classic family photos!

Tomorrow I am focusing on Katie, her personality and how she feels about having dwarfism. And there are many more photos to come!

Happy Day!

Love, The Jaderstons

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