My Life. My Story. I am a Little Person.

By Meghan Bailey on Jul 8, 2015

Josh plays soccer, he loves to ride his skateboard, he has good grades, and is twelve-years-old. Josh is also a little person.

In 2002, I took a pregnancy test, and it came back positive. My husband and I were ready to welcome our second child into our family. We could not have been more excited, and we knew he would be the perfect addition to our family.

Doctors started to notice a couple of different features.

The pregnancy with Josh was to be expected. I experienced morning sickness during the first trimester, but it settled down after that. On December 9th, our sweet baby boy was born. Everything from his sweet cheeks to his tiny fingers and toes were just perfect.

After his birth, doctors started to notice a couple of different features. We always had the idea that Josh was different, but it was not until after multiple x-rays, MRIs, sleep studies and every test in between, that we were given the final diagnosis. Josh was officially diagnosed with Achondroplasia when he was ten months old.

Looking back now, my health providers probably suspected something was different as early as the first ultrasound, but at the time, there was only one genetic doctor in Las Vegas who could have been able to diagnose him before birth.

We knew Josh was exactly who he needed to be and was perfect in every way, but the diagnosis did not come without multiple struggles.

When he was one, he had ear surgery and still has to use hearing aids to this day. He also had an additional six surgeries to put in ear tubes. A doctor told us that he needed to have surgery to straighten his legs. Not lengthen them, straighten them, so that he could run, walk, and play without pain.

On Josh's 7th birthday, we flew to Baltimore to meet with Dr. Michael Ain, who is one of the world's leading surgeons in this area. He understands more than most doctors because he is a little person as well. Josh's eyes lit up when he met Dr. Ain and Josh told us he would be in good hands.

At times, I have to remember that no matter what surgery he has had, who is staring, who made fun of him, that he is just as normal as you and I, and I won’t treat him any differently. He gets up every morning and eats pancakes before brushing his teeth and heading off to school. When he turns 16, he will learn to drive. When he is 18, he will walk across the stage to receive his diploma, and he will start his own family one day.

We all have choices in life. Josh could feel sorry for himself for being different but he doesn't. He is who he is. He chooses joy every day, and you can as well. Choose joy, be accepting, and live every day the way you were meant to live it, carefree and accepting, just like Josh.

The surgery was successful and we began the road to recovery, involving full leg casts, screws and pins, and physical therapy sessions to help Josh learn how to walk again.

A lot of people assume the hardest part about raising Josh has been the multiple surgeries, since he is a little person and has gone through so many of them, but that isn't the case. It's the silent whispers, the staring, the pointing, and the negative comments people make within earshot of Josh. He is strong and he knows who he is, but that doesn't mean it doesn't bother him.

It's the silent whispers, the staring, the pointing, and the negative comments

I've been noticing the numerous cycles of "different" becoming normal, but for some reason, people do not seem to accept medically different people. My son has a heartbeat, a soul, a laugh, and smiles just like anyone else.

It's normal to have questions or look a little longer than normal because he is different but instead of making it a "thing," take the time to ask questions. 

Looking for more information about Dwarfism and local chapters of Little People of America? Check out www.lpaonline.com to read more about dwarfism and available programs across the country. The local chapter for Las Vegas is in District 12, Chapter 71, the "Las Vegas Tumbleweeds." You can also follow the group on Facebook to keep up with their activities in the community.