"DADDY! LOOK AT THAT SMALL MA..."

Thread: Some advice for parents when your small child sees someone with #dwarfism for the first time.

Please read, RT, and, if you yourself are a #dwarf or #disabled person,​add your own ​advice.

1/
"MUMMY! THAT BOY HAS A *BEARD*!?!"

I can imagine you feel embarrassed right now…

...but what you do next helps set the foundations on which your child will build their understanding of #dwarfism, #disability, and difference.

2/
The first thing to say is: don't ever encourage your child to point and laugh at people who are different. Ever.

That might ​seem​ obvious, but I've encountered parents who’ve done so - and even filmed me, too.

But these are a tiny minority, so let's move on...

3/
"HEY! THAT'S A LITTLE LADY!?!"

I know, you could die, right?

But please don't react by telling your child to "S​S​SHHH!"

Their curiosity won't go away; it'll only simmer below​,​ and now you've told them #dwarfism, #disability and difference shouldn't be talked about.

4/
One of the things you should nip in the bud is pointing.

It's rude. Of course, they're little kids and I don't really mind if they’re young, but you've got to tell them sometime, right?

No time like the present, innit… 😉

5/
Some of my favourite moments have been when parents of curious kids let me chat to their kids about why I'm small and how boring life would be if we all looked the same.

Kids usually get it pretty swiftly and go back to talking about cool stuff like dragons and superheroes.

6/
But not every #dwarf person feels confident doing this​.​​ Some will be more shy or anxious than others​.​​ That. Is. Fine.

Read the situation. If it feels awkward, don’t push...

Also, it can't be on us alone to educate your kids about difference. That’s your job…

7/
A word on feeling embarrassed. That's fine and that's natural.

But right now it's not really about you.

It's about how we feel - sometimes it's cool, sometimes on a tough day it grates a bit or tires us - and how you can teach your child.

8/
"YOU'RE JUST PRETENDING TO BE GROWN UP!"​

When talking to kids about being different, I like to get down to their eye level, if I'm not already (depends on their age).

I think it create​s​ a connection and let​s​ me see ​if they process what I’m saying​.

9/
The first thing I tell them is *my name*.

Then I ask them theirs.

I ask them how old they are.​ ​

I tell them I'm 32.

This helps to solidify the idea in their head that I am a person and a small *adult* (the beard helps too!).

10/
I tell them I’m small because I was born this way. That’s all.

I tell them we’re all different, in some way, and

​I ​point out other differences between us – our hair colour, maybe, or ​our ​trainers.

11/
I point out how *they* are different to their sibling, parent, or passer​s​-by.

I ask them if they think the world would be boring if we all looked the same.

They nearly always agree​ that it would.​

12/
When we’re done chatting, I ask to shake their hand or give them a high-five, if they want to (I don’t press this – this bit is entirely on *their* terms).

I say goodbye or see you later, give them a wink or a smile, and get back to my day…

13/
Now. They’re kids. I don’t expect them to remember ​everything we talked about.

But I always hope that, next time they see someone with ​#​dwarfism, it’ll all seem a little bit more familiar & okay.

Hopefully, they might even talk to them about dragons or superheroes too.

END.

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More from @MrEugeneGrant

Aug 10, 2018
Thread: Just finished this beautiful book in which the protagonist is a strong, powerful woman with #dwarfism - Trudi - living in Germany before, through, and after WW2.

This is the first piece of adult non-fantasy fiction I've read with a #dwarf main character.

1/
A dwarf person in an average height town, Trudi is, in a way, an outsider, and yet central to the community, too.

As a child, she yearns to be average height - she asks the doctor for pills to make her tall, she hangs by her arms from doorways trying to stretch her body.

2/
Children shy away from Trudi as if touching her might turn them into #dwarf people, too.

Adults act as if she is invisible and they say things they wouldn't say if other children were around. For Trudi, this is the beginning of something key...

3/
Read 18 tweets
Jul 8, 2018
Thread: Heard of the Seven Dwarfs? Mini-Me? Tyrion?

Cool. Pull up a seat.

Let me tell you about Jeffrey Hudson - a real #dwarf person whose incredible life featured Kings and Queens, pirates and prisoners, soldiers and slaves.

He once shot a man dead for mocking him.

1/
Hudson was born in England in 1619 to poor average height parents.

Not long after, the Duke of Buckingham moved nearby.

When he was 7, the Duchess of Buckingham asked his father to permit Jeffery to live with her.

2/
***
The Duke 'gave' Jeffrey (you read that right) in **a pie** (you read that right, too) to Queen Henrietta Maria.

If that sounds disgusting and barbaric it's because it is (sadly, this is not the only time this humiliating practice occurred in history).

3/
Read 27 tweets
Apr 8, 2018
Thread: I have #dwarfism.

I knew who the Seven #Dwarfs were by the age of ten.

I knew who Mini Me was by 13. 

I was 31 when I learned who Benjamin Lay was. 

This is important. Please read and RT. 

1/
Born in England 1682, Benjamin Lay was among the first known radical abolitionists. 

He was fearless, compassionate, and principled. 

He was also a #dwarf

2/
A "living stick of dynamite", Benjamin Lay was "one of the very first to call for the abolition of slavery".

He wrote one of the world's first abolitionist books - calling for the church to cast out slave owners.

3/
Read 14 tweets
Feb 28, 2018
Thread: following my tweet about the word "M*dget", lots of people are asking "but what do we call people with #dwarfism?". Listen close...

Please RT 1/
I promise you: the best thing to call someone with #dwarfism is *their name*.

If you don't know their name, ask yourself why you need to refer to their body before knowing who they are. This is important. 2/
3/ Know their name? Good. Then politely ask them how they like to refer to themselves.

It's for them to decide, not you. They are the author of the dictionary that defines them*

Don't know their name? See 2/.

(* I stole this from Zadie Smith)
Read 11 tweets

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