Guest Author - Rev. Jackie O´Neal S.T.M.
I’ve been a passionate fan of The Learning Channel’s series, “Little People, Big World” featuring the outstanding Roloff Family. Recently, I took a personality test on the Roloff’s fan site to discover which one of the Roloff kids my personality most resonates with. Although, I realize the personality test is probably geared for teens and pre-teens, since I’m a kid at heart, it intrigued me, and I learned I identify most with Zachary Roloff.
I admit through watching the series, I’ve gone up on the learning curve regarding the many complex issues affecting “little people.” Matt Roloff is the president of Little People of America and on the Board of the Coalition For Dwarf Advocacy, a non-profit whose mission it is to help families and individuals affected by dwarfism and faced with special problems and needs.
Health Care is one of the most compelling areas of concern for “little people” since it can be challenging to connect with medical professionals who are trained and experienced in addressing medical issues related to dwarfism. Obtaining health insurance often can be difficult as a result of the many chronic conditions present. It is estimated that there 200 types of dwarfism that are seriously under researched.
Related to Health Care is another serious issue- Adoption. The cost of adopting a dwarf child who faces prohibitive health care, creates obstacles for families desiring to initiate adoptions within the population. Similarly, potential adoptive dwarf parents face the same obstacles in adopting average size children.
Another great area of concern affecting future generations is related to accessibility to post-secondary education. Although scholarships and grants exist for most disadvantaged persons, dwarfism often does not meet the qualification criteria on many levels.
Coalition For Dwarf Advocacy offers the expertise needed to iron out many of these overwhelming problems affecting “little people” and their families. In addition, part of CODA’s mission includes being able to benefit not just the dwarf population, but all people of short stature who are not classified as dwarfs and yet, also face lifestyle challenges.
Matt and Amy Roloff and the Roloff family deserve praise for the inspiring example they are setting not only for “little people” who struggle with so many issues, but for all people faced with challenges or obstacles related to health, employment, education and accessibility.
For more information, visit: http://www.coda-lp.org