Caitlyn was diagnosed with having Achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism, about an hour after she was born. Tears were shed as we hadn’t gotten the daughter we were expecting, but as the past 5 years have gone by we wouldn’t change a single thing about her. She has opened our eyes to the acceptance of everyone's differences.
Shortly after Caty was born I stumbled upon the poem “Welcome to Holland”. When I read the poem, I was struck by how inspiring it was for anyone who has experienced a loss; our loss being a child of average height. More importantly it reminded us to not spend a lifetime mourning what might have been, but to look at our loss as an opportunity for discovering something very different, but perhaps as equally wonderful.
Over the past 5 years, we have gained an incredible POLP (Parents of Little People) family and I am so thankful for each and every one of them! I love you all!
Last year it was made official – October has been declared as Dwarfism Awareness Month.
So I’m spreading the word about dwarfism.
LITTLE PEOPLE OF AMERICA RECOGNIZES OCTOBER AS NATIONAL DWARFISM AWARENESS MONTH
October has been declared National Dwarfism Awareness Month by Little People of America. Little People of America (LPA) is a national support organization for people with dwarfism and their families. LPA provides peer, parent and medical support for the dwarfism community.
LPA began in 1957 with actor Billy Barty and 20 short-statured friends. The first LPA meeting was monumental for a group of people who were severely mislabeled and misunderstood by society. Today, Little People of America is a thriving international organization providing much needed support, education, educational scholarships, and community outreach.
In declaring Dwarfism Awareness Month, LPA hopes to raise positive awareness around dwarfism, address common misconceptions, and increase opportunities for people with dwarfism around the country.
“People with dwarfism are no different than any other person. We may just need a well-placed stool. Our members are children, college students, business professionals, doctors, engineers, mechanics, artists and teachers. We can do anything an average-height person can do,” says Lois Lamb, LPA President and a person with dwarfism.
"Raising a child with dwarfism is new for most parents. Being part of LPA has made a tremendous difference. My daughter and I both have great friends and role models. High school is not an easy time for most teens, but neither of us feels alone in dealing with any extra challenges," says Joanna Campbell, average-height mother of a teen with dwarfism.
More about LPA and dwarfism:
- There are over 200 distinct forms of dwarfism and skeletal dysplasias.
- People with dwarfism are generally not taller than 4' 10" at adult height. The typical height range is 2'8" to 4'5".
- Eighty percent of people with dwarfism have average-height parents and siblings.
- There are an estimated 30,000 people in the United States and 651,000 internationally with a type of dwarfism.
- In July 2009 the word "midget" was declared inappropriate and offensive. Preferable terms are: having dwarfism, short stature, little person, lp, and the medical terminology use of dwarf. A person's name is always the most preferred.
- LPA has registered a complaint with the FCC over the use of the "m" word. Our goal is to raise awareness around the offensive impact of the word in order to eliminate use of it in media, popular culture and in everyday language.
- LPA has 6500 members across the United States and includes 70 chapters active in all 50 states.
- Skeletal Dysplasias affect bone growth, but generally do not affect cognitive abilities.
- LPA hosts an annual national conference each July which draws 2500 attendees for a week of activities, including educational and medical workshops, sports, and social networking and events.
The National Dwarfism Awareness Month program is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about people with dwarfism.
Mission of LPA "LPA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dwarfism throughout their lives while celebrating with great pride Little People’s contribution to social diversity. LPA strives to bring solutions and global awareness to the prominent issues affecting individuals of short stature and their families."
The LPA National Office is located in Southern California.