Friday, June 5, 2009

Little People of America

There is a great non-profit organization that supports individuals with achondroplasia. I heard about this organization through my sister There is a website for the organization and it explains that the "LPA has more than 6,000 members across across the United States and internationally." The LPA offers all kinds of information for little people such as employment, adoption, clothing, medical problems, and much more.

Every year, LPA holds a conference for little people. This year, the conference is being held in New York City from July 4-10. The conference consists of fireworks, barbequeing, a welcome reception, fasion shows, talent shows, a banquet night, and New York sightseeing.

In both television shows I talked about previously, the LPA convention has been part of them. In The Little Couple, it is explained that the couple met each other at the convention. I have heard that little people very often meet their husband or wife at the LPA convention.

I have learned that the LPA is a great organization. The conference enables little people to have a whole lot of fun with many individuals just like them. Especially for children, they can make friends and have a good time without being stared or commented at.

The LPA website address is:

I found a video about a man biking at the 2007 LPA convention. I think that you will fidit very interesting. The interviewer asks him questions about his bike that relate to different accommodations that have to be made for little people when it comes to such things like bike riding. Here is the addresss:

Little People of America. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2009, from

Bike Friday @ the Little People of America Conference, 2007 [Motion picture]. (2007). YouTube.
Retrieved June 5, 2009, from

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So there are a couple of TV shows that I think everyone should be interested in. Both shows are broadcasted on TLC. One show is Little People Big World that I mentioned a couple of times and the other is The Little Couple.

As I explained before, Little People Big World is about a family of six. Both parents are little people and one child is a little person. Their other three children are of average size and do not have achondroplasia. This show communicates what it is like to be a little person and what daily accommodation have to be made. Through watching this show, I have learned a lot about little people. They can live just like people who do not have achondroplasia. It also shows how they work together as a family unit. They often work together to help each other out in many different situations. This is a great show to watch as an example of a family in which some members have achondroplasia and some members don't. I think that when my niece, Madison, gets old enough to understand the show, it will be a good example for her to learn that she can live just as normal as any other person in the world, just with a shorter stature, and the possibility of some health problems.

TLC's The Little Couple is a new show that is broadcasted on this network. A picture of the married couple is above. I have only seen this show a couple of times and I think that it is another example of how little people live. The married couple met at a LPA, Little People of America, convention and fell in love. In the episodes I have viewed, their love for each other is displayed powerfully. I have learned different things from this show. I have learned that it is very expensive to get appropriate clothing for little people. They have to buy average sized clothing and get them talored to fit. In this show, it was explained that two suits cost the couple about $5,000. Even with the little couples short stature, they get around in their lives. It is tougher as this world is made for people of average height, but they get around.

The Little Couple. (n.d.). The Learning Chanel. Retrieved June 3, 2009, from
Little People Big World. (n.d.). The Learning Chanel. Retrieved June 3, 2009, from

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Information about Will and Max Graf

I was so interested in the article I talked about yesterday about Will and Max Graf that I'm back to write some more because I found some more information on them that I think you will enjoy. I found two more articles about Will and Max being in middle school. There is also a really good video on the one article that I found about the boys social scene in middle school. You should really check it out. Here is the address:

McKay explains that this is the boys' sixth grade year in school. They are shorter than their 5-year-old brother. (2007, p.1) McKay also explains that the Graf boys noticed that their friends grew a few inches over the summer and they now have to look up even higher to see communicate with them. McKay explains "Not that either boy thinks that's such a big deal. Because most of their classmates have known them since kindergarten, everyone's "cool" with the disparity in height" (2007, p1).

As in the Kindergarten class the boys were in, accommodations were made in middle school that the boys attend in Ohio Township, PA. McKay explained that "the district had provided stools in the classrooms, lavatory and cafeteria to help the boys reach things that are too high and provided some latitude in gym class when performing some of the tougher physical activities (2007, p.2). She also explained that "they're also allowed to exit the middle school at the end of the school day from the sixth-grade hall instead of the main entrance to avoid the "traffic jam" of the 330 kids trying to get to their buses at the same time" (2007, p.2).

McKay also explained that Will is looking to participate in am intramural basketball team and Max is looking forward to learning how to play the drums.

What I find the most interesting about these boys is that at the sixth grade level, they are comfortable with themselves and their dwarfism. I can only hope that my niece has the same positive attitude about school as the Graf brothers do.

The next article I found is about the Graf brothers' social progress. Through this article, McKay explains that the boys attended their first "social" and it was a success. McKay explains that after arriving at the dance the "brothers ultimately ended up in different parts of the darkened gym: Will hung mostly with his guy buddies, while Max -- who'd worked up the courage to ask a female classmate to meet him at the dance -- happily showed off his dance moves to a gaggle of giggling girls" (2007, p1). At the end of the dance Max even got to slow dance with a girl that instinctively got down on her knees to dance with him. (2007, p.2).

These two articles excited me because this is something that I can envision for my niece when she gets to the age of the Graf brothers. I would love to hear comments and feedback!
McKay, G. (2007, September 12). Dwarf brothers Will, Max Graf find bigger challenges in middle
school. In Post-gazette. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from
McKay, G. (2007, November 27). Dwarf brothers get comfortable in middle-school social scene. In
Post-gazette. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from

Monday, June 1, 2009

Achondroplasia Brothers go to Kindergarten

So after reading about what achondroplasia is, I wondered what it is like for young children to first go to school with it because my niece will be doing this in September. I found an article written by Gretchen McKay that explains an experience that two brothers share in their first year of kindergarten.

McKay explains that Will Graf and his adopted brother are both little people who shared their first year of school together. She starts by explaining a situation that Max had with another student. The boys' teacher, Mary Ann Mihkalko, explains that Max's peer said that he was too little to be 5. She explains that Max took the boy aside and explained "Well," he began with adult-like authority, "have you ever heard the word 'dwarf'?" (McKay, 2002, p.1). Mihalko explains that Max explained the the boy that he was a little person and that she did not have to say anything to either of them after that.

Throught his article it is stated that the boys' parents were concerned that they were going to get teased and made fun of. After the year was over, the only problems either of them experienced was with Max and another student that I just explained and another when two girls pointed and laughed at them on the bus.

With concern about the boys in the classroom setting for the first time, some accommodations were made for them. McKay explains that "even though the law didn't require it, they placed an aide in Mihalko's classroom to assist with toilet visits and walking. Weekly visits with an occupational therapist would help the children's writing and drawing" (McKay, 2002, p.2). Seatbelts were placed in the seat behind the bus driver to assure that the boys would have safe transportation to and from school. This, explains McKay is because "Will and Max's disproportionately large heads make them top-heavy and more apt to fall out of their seats ifthe bus swerves or stops quickly" (2002, p.2). It is also explained that stools were put by the water fountains and bathroom sinks, the doors on their lockers were adjusted so they could be opened easier, and the school placed a smaller toilet in the bathroom.

It is awesome to know that accommodations like this are made in classrooms for students that have achondroplasia. I found this article to be very interesting because it is not something that it usually stressed when you look up information on achondroplasia. If you want to read more about the boys' Kindergarten year together here is the website:

If reading about what it is like to live with achondroplasia is not enough for you or and you want more insight about it I found a great video about a couple with achondroplasia.

Living with Dwarfism (HD) [Motion picture]. (2009). YouTube. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from
McKay, G. (2002, June 13). Dwarf brother take a big step in kindergarten. In
Retrieved June 1, 2009, from


Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is achondroplasia?

If you are not sure you know what the stature of an achondroplasia patient looks like, look up TLC's "Little People Big World". This is a show about the lives of a family that consists of three out of six little people two of which are parents and one child. The picture to the left is of the family on Little People Big World. Here is the website f0r the show:

In this picture, you can see a significant difference in height. An article I found explains that "The average height of an adult with achondroplasia ia 131 cm in males and 124 cm in females" ("Achondroplasia”, 2005, p.1). In another article, Parikh and Bara explain that patients with achondroplasia have a relatively large skull compared to the face (2009). People with achondroplasia also have a longer torso and shorter limbs. You can see this in the picture of the family from TLC's Little People Big World.

Do you know how achondroplasia is inherited?
In an article I read it states that "Most causes of achondroplasia occur sporadically and are the result of a new mutation in a sperm or ovum of one of the normal-appearing parents. The change of a new mutation rises with the age of the father" (Achondroplasia", 2005, p.3).

This is information that I did not know about before. When my niece, Madison, was born my family could not understand why she was a little person. We do not have a history of little poeple in our family. After reading this article, I discovered that it probably came from her father. She is the only child born my my sister and her husband in which he is an older age to be having his first child.

After writing about achondroplasia you may be thinking that they are just little people and have no other differences when compared to people who do not have achondroplasia. Unfortunately, this is false. Little people experience a lot of different medical problems. In short, they have spinal and joint problems from my common knowledge. Surgeries are also necessary when problems arise.

Achondroplasia. (2005, November 5). Retreived November 9, 2005, from
Parikh, S. & Bara, P. (n.d.). Achondroplasia. Retreived January 26, 2009, from

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Little About Me...

Hello! My name is Danielle. I am creating this blog as I have a major personal connection to achondroplasia. I am creating this blog because my niece has achondroplasia. I have asked so many questions about what my niece has been going through at such a young age. I have asked questions, but I have not done research. I think that the best way to do research and keep track of this research is to post different blogs frequently. This way, as I find different information about living with achondroplasia, I can write about it. After posting, I can continue my research from what I have found thus far. I want to both learn more about this type of dwarfism and enlighten others. As many people may know a little bit about dwarfism, they may not know what accommodations have to be made in the daily lives of dwarfs with achondroplasia. Also, many people stare when they see individuals with dwarfism. I believe this is because they do not know enough about it. Through this blog I plan to first explain about the type of dwarfism achondroplasia, then go into different accommodations that have to be made in the lives of dwarfs with achondroplasia. Thanks for reading and I plan to keep you updated while I research. Keep checking back!