Friday, October 21, 2011

Two false assumptions

As part of Dwarfism Awareness Month, I wanted to post one more "awareness post" - two things I would love for the world to understand about dwarfism (and disabilities in general).

1. Just because someone is small doesn't make them "immature"
Maddy may be the size of a (very plump) 3 month old - but she's NOT 3 months old, she's 14 months old. To treat her based on her SIZE rather than her AGE is not appropriate. A child with dwarfism might be 12 years old, but he may be the size of an average 5 year old. There is a huge difference in maturity between those two ages - and no 12 year old wants to be treated "like a baby". That is just as true, maybe even more so, for a child with dwarfism. 

2. Just because someone has a physical disability doesn't mean they must be affected cognitively as well
This one doesn't just go for people with dwarfism, but also people in a wheelchair, people who are blind, or deaf... even people who have no control of their bodies at all. Very often, these people are not cognitively affected at all and understand everything that is going on around them. They notice stares, they notice people talking about them, they see the mothers "shushing" their children. It is also insulting to talk slower or louder to people with a disability based on a false assumption that they are intellectually affected. And people with dwarfism are very rarely affected cognitively, meaning that their minds are as fast and as sharp as your own ;)

Sometimes I know that people are unsure of how to talk to people with a disability - even I am not so confident all the time. But the best thing is to ignore their physical differences and talk with them just as you would anyone else. Chances are you may have more in common with them than your differences.


  1. On point number one, I totally agree but I would say that it's kind of wrong to assume that you can know much about childrens' maturity level based on their size--whether they have a disability or other different things about their body or not.

    I can relate to this because my son, while having no physical disability, is much taller than most of the children his age in Hong Kong. He is only 3-years-old but he's almost as tall as some 6-year-old Hong Kong children. When people see him acting like a 3-year-old they assume that he's just a "slow" 6-year-old. This is also unfair to him and kind of makes me frustrated at people sometimes.

    So, don't "judge a book by its cover" is a good rule in all aspects of life, I think.

    Thanks for your post. :)

  2. Such a great post! My Lyla is one and she looks like a 5 month old ( she was born with Achondroplasaia). She is very smart but people always think she is a baby not a toddler. Madeline is BEAUTIFUL! You are a very lucky woman to have two beautiful daughters! Hugs from Long Island!