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Eugene*Grant @MrEugeneGrant
, 14 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
"DADDY! LOOK AT THAT SMALL MA..."

Thread: Some advice for parents when your small child sees someone with #dwarfism for the first time.

Please read, RT, and, if you yourself are a #dwarf or #disabled person,​add your own ​advice.

1/
"MUMMY! THAT BOY HAS A *BEARD*!?!"

I can imagine you feel embarrassed right now…

...but what you do next helps set the foundations on which your child will build their understanding of #dwarfism, #disability, and difference.

2/
The first thing to say is: don't ever encourage your child to point and laugh at people who are different. Ever.

That might ​seem​ obvious, but I've encountered parents who’ve done so - and even filmed me, too.

But these are a tiny minority, so let's move on...

3/
"HEY! THAT'S A LITTLE LADY!?!"

I know, you could die, right?

But please don't react by telling your child to "S​S​SHHH!"

Their curiosity won't go away; it'll only simmer below​,​ and now you've told them #dwarfism, #disability and difference shouldn't be talked about.

4/
One of the things you should nip in the bud is pointing.

It's rude. Of course, they're little kids and I don't really mind if they’re young, but you've got to tell them sometime, right?

No time like the present, innit… 😉

5/
Some of my favourite moments have been when parents of curious kids let me chat to their kids about why I'm small and how boring life would be if we all looked the same.

Kids usually get it pretty swiftly and go back to talking about cool stuff like dragons and superheroes.

6/
But not every #dwarf person feels confident doing this​.​​ Some will be more shy or anxious than others​.​​ That. Is. Fine.

Read the situation. If it feels awkward, don’t push...

Also, it can't be on us alone to educate your kids about difference. That’s your job…

7/
A word on feeling embarrassed. That's fine and that's natural.

But right now it's not really about you.

It's about how we feel - sometimes it's cool, sometimes on a tough day it grates a bit or tires us - and how you can teach your child.

8/
"YOU'RE JUST PRETENDING TO BE GROWN UP!"​

When talking to kids about being different, I like to get down to their eye level, if I'm not already (depends on their age).

I think it create​s​ a connection and let​s​ me see ​if they process what I’m saying​.

9/
The first thing I tell them is *my name*.

Then I ask them theirs.

I ask them how old they are.​ ​

I tell them I'm 32.

This helps to solidify the idea in their head that I am a person and a small *adult* (the beard helps too!).

10/
I tell them I’m small because I was born this way. That’s all.

I tell them we’re all different, in some way, and

​I ​point out other differences between us – our hair colour, maybe, or ​our ​trainers.

11/
I point out how *they* are different to their sibling, parent, or passer​s​-by.

I ask them if they think the world would be boring if we all looked the same.

They nearly always agree​ that it would.​

12/
When we’re done chatting, I ask to shake their hand or give them a high-five, if they want to (I don’t press this – this bit is entirely on *their* terms).

I say goodbye or see you later, give them a wink or a smile, and get back to my day…

13/
Now. They’re kids. I don’t expect them to remember ​everything we talked about.

But I always hope that, next time they see someone with ​#​dwarfism, it’ll all seem a little bit more familiar & okay.

Hopefully, they might even talk to them about dragons or superheroes too.

END.
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