To Parents, Friends and Family members of Notre Dame Elementary School,
My name is Michelle Platz and my husband Eric and I have 4 children. Our oldest son, Aiden, is a
freshman at Ohio University, our daughter, Emmi, is a freshman at NDCL. At NDES, Max is in 6th
grade and Milo is in 3rd grade.
October is a month used to spread awareness about many different causes. In our household, October
stands for Dwarfism Awareness Month. Max has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.
Again this year, we wanted to send a letter to educate and spread awareness about dwarfism and our
Dwarfism is short stature that results from a genetic or medical condition. There are over 200
different types of dwarfism. Achondroplasia is the most common form. People with dwarfism are no
taller than 4'10" as adults. The average height is 4 feet tall, the average height of a first or
second grader. There are an estimated 30,000 people in the United States and 650,000 people in the
world who have some form of dwarfism. Achondroplasia affects approximately one child in 40,000
births. Dwarfism affects all races and nationalities equally. Achondroplasia is not a disease and
there are no cures. Human growth hormone does not help make people with achondroplasia taller.
Achondroplasia is strictly a skeletal dysplasia and does not affect cognitive function at all.
Over 80% of all people with dwarfism have average height parents and siblings ("normal height"
implies those individuals that are very tall or very short are not "normal.").
Max is the only little person in our family.
It is important as parents that we teach our children that God made all people different and
special. If your child asks you why Max is so small, it is best to explain that Max is a “little
person” and his bones grow slower than those of his peers. We always reinforced to Max that God
makes people of all different shapes and sizes.
It is also important to educate others about how to refer to people with dwarfism. Ideally, we
would like people to call Max by his name. It would also be appropriate to say, “Max is a little
person” or “Max has dwarfism.” It is not acceptable to say, "Max is a midget.” Despite not being
accurate (by definition, a midget is a proportional little person, Max is disproportional), the
term midget is antiquated and is considered offensive and derogatory by most little people and the
Little People of America, the national organization that support individuals with dwarfism and
their families. (www.lpaonline.org).
Max is a very energetic, funny, happy and outgoing boy. He makes friends easily and has never let
his size get him down. He has learned how to be completely independent at home and at school,
mostly through the use of step stools. He is actively involved in the local and national LPA
chapters and has many friends with dwarfism from all over the country.
To help us spread the word about Dwarfism Awareness this month, each of the students and staff were
given a yellow bracelet that says “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?.” In prior years, we
have given out bracelets that say “Size matters not,” “A person’s a person no matter how small,”
and “What is big?”
So far, we have had a very positive experience since Max started kindergarten. We are very excited
that Max is at such a great school!
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you!!
Michelle and Eric Platz [email protected]