What is Dwarfism? Get to Know: Wildine!

What is Dwarfism?

Dwarfism is when a person is short in stature because of their genes or a medical reason. It’s defined by the advocacy groups Little People of the World Organization (LPOTW) and Little People of America (LPA) as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under. Other groups extend the criteria for certain forms of dwarfism to 5 feet, but the average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4 feet.

There are approximately 400 different kinds of dwarfism; these types are genetic, meaning they’re the result of a change in a gene that was either inherited (passed on from parent to child) or happened when mutation took place for the first time in the egg or sperm cell before conception.

Most people with dwarfism have a change in any of several specific genes that interfere with the normal development of cartilage and bones. Since the longest bones in the human body are located in the arms and legs, this interference in normal development most commonly results in shorter limbs, which leads to short stature.

There are two main categories of dwarfism:

Disproportionate and proportionate.

Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by an average-size torso and shorter arms and legs, or a shortened trunk with longer limbs.

In proportionate dwarfism, the body parts are in proportion but shortened.

Different types of dwarfism can be diagnosed even earlier in pregnancy, but other types can’t be diagnosed until after a baby is born. If it’s thought a child may have dwarfism, the doctor can use X-rays after birth to see if the bones are growing at an abnormal rate, or if they are shaped differently.

What is SADDAN (Severe Achondroplasia with Developmental Delay and Acanthosis Nigricans) Dysplasia?

SADDAN Dysplasia is a disorder of bone growth characterized by skeletal abnormalities, brain and skin.

This condition is due to mutations in the FGFR3 gene, located on the short arm of chromosome 4 (4p16.3). This gene encodes a protein called receptor fibroblast growth factor 3. This protein is part of a family of receptors of fibroblast growth factors that share similar functions. These play a role in several important cellular processes, including the regulation of growth and cell division, determining the cell type, the formation of blood vessels, wound healing and embryonic development.

SADDAN dysplasia is considered an autosomal dominant disorder because a mutated copy of the FGFR3 gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the condition.

Signs and symptoms include short stature with arms and particularly short legs, unusual inclination of the leg bones, small chest with ribs and curved clavicles, short and wide fingers, etc. In addition, individuals have acanthosis nigricans, progressive skin disorder characterized by the presence of thick, dark, velvety skin that develops in infancy or childhood.

It is very rare and has been described by only a small number of individuals worldwide. It usually occurs in people with no family history of the condition.

Get to Know: Wildine!

W: My name is Wildine Aumoithe, I’m 17 years old and I’m from Miami, FL!

M: What is your goal/ one of your goals?

W: One of my goals is to become the first black little person to be a pharmacist.

M: Who do you look up to the most? (can be someone you know, like a family member, friend, or can also be a public figure).

W: I definitely look up to a public figure which is Georgia Rankin she’s a little person just like she’s really inspiring and we both go through similar situations

M: What is a quote/idea that motivates and inspires you?

W: A person's a person, no matter how small - Dr.Seuss

M: Tell me about something you love (an activity, book, movie...)

W: I love editing videos!

M: What are the biggest challenges you face?

W: I can’t reach a lot of things. I have to ask for help and to find clothes and shoes in my size is difficult since I’m so small.

M: Tell me about something you’re proud of!

W: I am definitely proud of being part of two documentaries to feature my daily life as a little person.

M: What is your favorite moment of your daily routine?

W: I would say making iced coffee!

M: Like I said, this organization’s goal is for everyone to feel included, safe, comfortable, but our main audience and focus are young adults with physical disabilities. So, What advice or message would you give to them?

W: I would say just because you are “different” that doesn’t mean anything. You are able to accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.

M: What message would you give to the WORLD?

W: I would tell the world that not everyone is the same. There are people out there who are different, so don’t judge someone just because they have a disability.

Because at the end of the day it could’ve been you dealing with a disability.

If you want to get to know Wildine a little better, follow her on Instagram!


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