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Dwarfism facts for kids

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Velázquez – Bufón don Sebastián de Morra (Museo del Prado, c. 1645)
The Dwarf Don Sebastián de Morra, by Velázquez.

Dwarfism is used to describe a person of short stature, less than 4 feet, 10 inches (147 cm). This is often, though not always, because of a medical condition. People with this condition are called dwarfs or little people. Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by either short limbs or a short torso. In cases of proportionate dwarfism, both the limbs and torso are unusually small.

There are more than 200 other conditions which may cause dwarfism. The most common and recognisable form of dwarfism in humans is achondroplasia, a genetic disorder, in which the limbs are short in proportion to the body. This accounts for 70% of cases.Growth hormone deficiency, once known as pituitary dwarfism, is responsible for most other cases. Treatment depends on the cause. Those with genetic disorders can sometimes be treated with surgery or physical therapy. Hormone disorders can also be treated with growth hormone therapy before the child's growth plates fuse. Individual accommodations, such as specialized furniture, are often used by people with dwarfism. Many support groups provide services to aid individuals and the discrimination they may face.

In addition to the medical aspect of the condition, there are also social aspects. For a person with dwarfism, height discrimination can lead to ridicule in childhood and discrimination in adulthood. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, labels that some people with dwarfism accept include dwarf (plural: dwarfs), little person (LP), or person of short stature (See Terminology). Historically, the term "midget" was used to describe dwarfs (primarily proportionate); however, this term is now regarded as offensive.

Rossow Midgets, Mlle. Chalet the bounding queen, performance poster, 1897
Rossow Midgets, circus poster, 1897

In the 19th century in the United States, people with dwarfism were a major attraction of many circus sideshows. The most famous little people in the history of the American circus are General Tom Thumb and Michu.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Enanismo para niños

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