As of today, we are halfway through October. Where does the time go? I ask myself that far too often. We are halfway through one of the best months of the year (in my completely biased opinion). Octobers are when the season really starts to change. The leaves turn magical colors. The air gets crispy. Most importantly cider donuts are fresh! Another reason that isn’t as well known is that October is Dwarfism Awareness Month. This is near and dear to me. Most people are quite aware when they meet me that I’m a Little Person (the politically correct term for those that identify with it. Please ask, but most of us regard the M-word as a slur.), but I don’t go around telling people that I have dwarfism. Dwarfism is a medical diagnosis and it happens to be one of my many. At Next Step we don’t get into the weeds about diagnoses, we focus on impact. Sure, your diagnosis is how a young person finds and engages with Next Step, but it isn’t why they keep coming back.
The impact of my diagnosis is daily. I use a step stool on average a gazillion times a day. My feet dangle sitting in any chair. I am constantly asking people for help reaching things that are up high. On a more personal note, I am always aware that I am me because people tend to stare. It’s not a bad thing it’s how our brains work. When someone doesn’t fit into a category immediately we stare. Our brains are trying to figure out what category they belong in. I have a type of dwarfism that has me fairly proportional. In turn, I get mistaken for a child All. The. Time. When people do realize I’m an adult they get flustered for a split second on how to react to me. So I’m taking this moment to acknowledge Dwarfism Awareness Month and to encourage people to say “hello” instead of making things awkward. If you’re a little person and want to learn more about our programs I’d love to say hello to you! Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get beyond diagnoses and talk about what makes us human. Let’s make connections, create communities and hopefully make the world just a little better.