“Does he need a high chair?” Things you hear when you’re a person with dwarfism – #EndtheAwkward

Guest post from Phil Lusted, a web and graphic designer from north Wales. He blogs at his website LittlePhillz, and is supporting our End the Awkward campaign.Full-length photo of Phil, a man who has dwarfism

I am 31 years old and stand 3ft tall in height due to the fact I have diastrophic dysplaysia, a form of dwarfism. Because of my short stature, I have experienced many odd situations in life – from awkward moments to somewhat embarrassing ones.

These are just some of the awkward things I experience as a person with dwarfism…

“Does he need a high chair?”

Once I was going out on a dinner date, and the waitress asked my date if I needed a high chair before we got to our table. Needless to say, I do not.

As you can imagine, this was an embarrassing situation for me and my date – but also for our waitress, who felt really bad and apologised. I didn’t take any offence, though; in fact I had a giggle about it afterwards.

Speaking to the person I’m with, not me

When I am out with a friend or family member, people who don’t know me sometimes ask questions to the person I’m with, rather than directly to me. For example, someone might ask, ‘Does he want a drink?’ I am quite capable of speaking for myself without any trouble.

Getting spoken to like a child

Another common awkward moment for me is being spoken to like a child. Sometimes, people – especially teenagers – will say things to the effect of ‘Awww, look at him’, as if they’re feeling sorry for me being short.

In all honesty, I don’t really want people feeling sorry for me. I lead a happy life just like anyone else – the only difference is that I am a bit shorter. It doesn’t mean I am not living a good life!

Children who stare and sometimes laugh

I do come across this a lot, children who stare and laugh. To be honest, this does not upset me at all – what does upset me is the way some parents handle the situation by yelling and punishing their children.

I think there’s a better way to handle it: by simply explaining to the child who I am and educating him or her a bit more.

Ending the Awkward

If I’m honest, we all go through embarrassing situations in life, disabled or not.
I think the best way to tackle these awkward moments is to be mature about it – explain and educate those who don’t quite know what to do, so that these awkward moments can be prevented from happening again. And remember that the awkwardness comes from both sides!Portrait shot of Phil wearing a football shirt

I think it’s important that we as disabled people need to start spreading awareness about what it is like to have a disability, and I strongly believe that educating people through campaigns such as this is a great way of doing so.

So please remember to handle those awkward moments with respect and understanding. That way, we can all help and educate each other.

Watch our comedy shorts on how to end the awkward, made in partnership with Channel 4. And we’d love to hear your awkward stories – email us on stories@scope.org.uk

One thought on ““Does he need a high chair?” Things you hear when you’re a person with dwarfism – #EndtheAwkward”

  1. I have been on both sides of #Endtheawkward situations.

    Asking my blind friend who was fixing his car weather it was too dark.

    Becoming “grounded” on my mobility scooter on the track-way that wasn’t linked properly and ramps that were at the wrong angle at the National Eistedffod this year. I laughed the 1st few times as it was funny but by the end of the week the laughter was out of embarrassment and frustration and i felt bumped and bruised.

    Joking with my mate about her “packing the kitchen sink” when she bought her electric can opener on a camping trip. She just laughed and held up her arm that finishes at the elbow. We later discussed the merits of screw cap wine and of course tested one or 2 😉

    When little children stare at my wheels i just tell them its my go cart. If i am not in a rush i let them use my bright pink horn that honks:-)

    Life is what you make it

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