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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Little People Come to Nashville in Big Numbers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This week, 2,500 little people and their families are in town for the National Little People of America meeting. Finding rooms was a tall order in flood ravaged Nashville.

The Little People of America wants the public to know that little people are just like other people, only smaller in stature. Just a a toy poodle is still a poodle; 'little people' are people too.
The group is also trying to stop the use of a word that might still be in many people's vocabulary; midget, imp,or leprechaun.

One family attending, the Marohnics, are normal size but have a 7-year-old son, Matthew, who has a form of dwarfism. They said that neither of them has the gene that causes dwarfism.

“We thought, 'How does that happen? How did we have a little person?' We didn't understand,” said Matthew's mother.

Matthew had a spontaneous genetic mutation at conception. Other forms are caused by a mother and father with the gene that pass it on to their offspring.

Many of the people attending this week’s convention said they’ve had to deal with stares, whispers, pointing and giggling and a few drunks trying to rub their bellies for good luck..

Each year, the Marohnics travel to the conference to get new information and let their son know he's not alone. This year there are more little people in one place since the filming of "The Wizard of Oz".

LPA is leading the fight against what it calls the “M” word -- midget.

“Today, it's a very dehumanizing term in almost every context it's used,” said Gary Arnold of LPA.

The group prefers terms like "person of short stature" or "little people." They emphasize that they are all normal people, just a little shorter.

The convention runs through July 9.

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