Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are little people so small?
A: This question is the most common question asked to a little person. When asked by a child, the best answer to give is they were born that way. Inform the child that being small is the same reason of them having brown hair, or blue eyes. It is part of our physical makeup. The condition is know as dwarfism and is caused by a genetic mutation that happens 1/30,000 births. More than 80 percent of little people are born to average-size parents with no history of dwarfism in the family.
Q: What are the most common types of dwarfism?
A: There are more than 250 different types of dwarfism, but the most frequently diagnosed cause is achondroplasia, a genetic condition that results in disproportionately short arms and legs. The average height of adults with achondroplasia is 4’0″. Other relatively common genetic conditions that result in disproportionate short stature include spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc), diastrophic dysplasia, pseudoachondroplasia, hypochondroplasia, and osteogenesis imperfecta (OI).
Q: What is a midget?
A: In some circles, a midget is the term used for a proportionate dwarf. However, the term has fallen into disfavor and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the “freak show” era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today.
Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.