Yes, I'm Short. I'm a Little Person.
Growing up there were no other Little People in the media, so I had this notion that I was the shortest person in the world. I am a Little Person. I am three foot nine inches tall, as a fully grown adult. I have a type of dwarfism called SEDC for short, but the long version is spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita.
Nowadays, there are several shows that feature little people, some in a good light and others, not so much. However, I still get mistaken for a child on a semi-regular basis, based all on my height. In the past, I was given the children’s menu at a restaurant when on the same day a few hours later I was buying cigarettes for my sister and I was not even asked for my ID. It is very hit and miss when it comes to people’s reaction to my height, and with the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to wear masks in public, the number of times I get mistaken for a child just shoots up. I also use a pediatric-sized wheelchair when out in public, so I honestly don’t think that helps either.
This year I was Black Friday shopping with my sister and niece at a local mall. At one point I was waiting outside the store for my niece and sister and just holding all the bags when a security guard at the mall came up to me and kneeled down and said “Hey little buddy, have you lost your grownups? Do you need help finding them?” I responded that I was just waiting for my niece and sister to get out of the store. To which he responded, “OK, well I hope Santa brings you a lot of good presents for Christmas.” He then walked away.
I get this more often than you’d think. I’ve been told to get off mobility scooters in stores because I was a child “playing around on them.” My nephew who’s known me his whole life asked me the other day, “Bree, why are your legs so short?” to which I responded, “I have dwarfism…” He then asked, “Does that mean you’re a dwarf? I thought they only existed in fairy tales like unicorns!”
People need to learn about Little People and that little people exist. Just because you see someone who is short, don’t assume they are a child. Teach your children about Little People. Teach your people about all people with disabilities.
Getty image by Angela Ponce.