Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by mariah. mariah Wonders, “Can dwarfism be cured?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, mariah!

Have you noticed how everyone is a different height? During the day, you and your friends may line up for recess, for lunch, or games. Some kids are taller, some are in the middle, and some are shorter. Just like young people, adults are all different sizes!

Parents and doctors measure the growth of children from the time they are born. They follow charts to see if kids are growing between check-ups. Sometimes, a child’s height lags their peers’. When questions come up, adults may run tests to find medical answers.

Dwarfism describes a full-grown adult not taller than four feet, ten inches. There are two types of dwarfism—proportionate and disproportionate. Population estimates show that 2.5 percent of U.S. adults meet this definition. Many of these people prefer to be called little people or people of short stature.

People of short stature whose heads and limbs are in proportion with the rest of their body are proportionate dwarfs. This type of dwarfism is most often from conditions which limit growth before puberty.

A person of short stature who has a head and/or limbs that appear to not fit with the rest of their body marks disproportionate dwarfism. Doctors often figure out people have this type of dwarfism by noting attributes at birth.

Several things can cause growth issues. Childhood growth can fall behind because of poor nutrition, inherited genes, or other factors. A lack of growth hormone can also cause stunted height. There are over 100 conditions that can lead to dwarfism. Children thought to have dwarfism may be X-rayed, have genetic testing, or go through MRI studies. Many times, tests never reveal a cause.

There are some types of dwarfism doctors can treat. Doctors may inject growth hormones. This treatment takes  several years. Some choose surgeries to lengthen and straighten bones. More often, doctors offer supports to help with other health issues dwarfism causes.

Children with dwarfism may require treatment for many issues. Eyesight, joints, bone problems, and other health troubles can come with a dwarfism diagnosis. Little people usually have normal lifespans, though. And they typically learn at the same rate as kids of the same age.

Families that include dwarfs should think about how to alter their living conditions. Little people can do most daily tasks.  They should receive support according to their age and ability level. They may need devices like crutches, step stools, and switch extenders. Parenting adults can and should promote independence.

Adaptive strategies are important for all ages and stages for little people. Dwarf children in school may need smaller instruments to be able to join a band. Adults teaching little people how to drive will have to provide extensions for the car pedals. Adult little people want to be able to wear clothes that aren’t made for children.

Do you know someone who is a little person? What do you like to do with your friend? If you’ve never met a little person, what is one question you might ask if you ever met someone of short stature? What would you want them to know about you? What might be the first thing you do together? Everyone is unique and we can celebrate that!  

Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.SL.4, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is all about man’s best friend!