People with dwarfism find TV exposure aids acceptance

Sun May 2, 2010 10:41pm EDT
 
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By Rick Wilking

DENVER (Reuters Life!) - Chris Kotzian is a police dispatcher and his wife Barb is a graphic designer.

With two young children, a dog and a house in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, the Kotzians are much the same as any other busy, working family except for one thing. Both Chris and Barb have dwarfism and stand less than four feet tall.

Like many people with dwarfism, the Kotzians have worked hard to overcome social and physical barriers to lead full and normal lives which includes working with non-profit group, Little People of America (LPA), to stop people treating them like a circus act.

In recent year reality TV shows, such as "Little People, Big World" and "The Little Couple," that have shown people with dwarfism leading normal lives, have helped change attitudes but there is still a long way to go.

"I have gone to many elementary schools, which have little people in them, and talked to them about how I get along in this wonderful world, and how we are all the same inside and we all have differences outside," said Barb Kotzian, who is the vice-president of their local chapter of the LPA.

"Some people wear glasses and some people have red hair, no one is the same, but we must remember we all have feelings and we must be kind to each other.

The Little People of America, which supports people of short stature caused by more than 200 medical conditions know as dwarfism, actively campaigns against people with dwarfism being portrayed in the media as no better than side show attractions.

The group (www.lpaonline.org), with over 6,000 members, also opposes the use of such language as "midget" which is considered highly offensive.   Continued...