Bringing Up Brooke: Raising a Daughter with Dwarfism

Teaching Tolerance

Sometimes I get unpleasant reminders that my daughter is not like everyone else. A few ill-informed people who know that Brooke has achondroplasia have asked me if she's also mentally disabled. One day, I ran into an acquaintance who had never seen Brooke before. "Her head is so big," she said, and it hit me that my daughter is going to have to endure insensitive comments like this her whole life. Sometimes when I drive by our local grade school, I get teary-eyed at the thought of how kids will tease her. Children can be so cruel to anyone who's even a little different. The future holds a lot of medical challenges for Brooke too. But she should still be able to accomplish everything I want for her, including going to college and having a career and a family.

I hope she'll also live in a world that's a little more understanding. I have learned that people with short stature are just that-their capabilities are as limitless as those of someone of average height. I've become active with the Little People of America, because I believe it's important for Brooke to know kids who are like her. When Brooke starts school, I plan to talk openly to her class and teacher about dwarfism. My job as Brooke's mom is clear: to provide her with the confidence to do anything she wants in life.

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