Dwarfism Awareness Month – October, 2021

While International Dwarfism Awareness Day is observed every year on the 25th of October, the entire month of October is Dwarfism Awareness Month. One great way to participate in Dwarfism Awareness Day is by learning more about dwarfism.

In 1957, actor Billy Barty and some of his friends founded an organization for people with dwarfism, called Little People of America (LPA). In 2012, LPA wanted to honor Billy Barty, so they created International Dwarfism Awareness Day, choosing Barty’s birthday (October 25th) as the official date.

Considering the complexity of the topic, I’d rather only list the basics and leave you with a few links to some websites where you can deepen your knowledge.

  1. Dwarfism is a condition characterized by short stature, usually resulting in an adult height of four-feet, 10-inches or shorter. For children, this means being below the height growth curve for their age, which would be less than the 3rd percentile.
  2. The terms usually preferred by people with this condition are “short-statured” or “little person” rather than “​dwarf.” The term “midget” is considered to be offensive by the majority of people.
  3. There are several hundred genetic diseases that can cause dwarfism, but the most frequent ones are listed on this page in alphabetical order.
  4. Achondroplasia makes up 70% of all cases of dwarfism and affects about one of every 25,000 to 30,000 newborns. Achondroplasia is caused by a problem with the gene that allows the body to convert cartilage to bone while growing, especially in the long bones. The word achondroplasia comes from Latin and literally means “without cartilage formation.”.

If you want to learn more, I invite you to explore the following sites: