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21 disabilities under RPWD 2016 – Dwarfism


As part of our series on the 21 disabilities that are covered under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 , today we talk about Dwarfism .

Dwarfism is a growth disorder, also known as short stature and a person or organism with the condition is referred to as a dwarf. When the size of an adult man or woman is less than 147 centimeters- 4 feet 10 inches, dwarfism is the cause.

Causes of dwarfism

The shortness in stature can be due to medical or genetic reasons. As per researchers, there are more than 300 conditions that cause dwarfism. However, the most common causes are

• Achondroplasia

• Turner syndrome

• Growth hormone deficiency

• Hypothyroidism

• Intrauterine growth retardation

Types of dwarfism

There are two types of dwarfism - proportionate and disproportionate.

Proportionate Dwarfism

In this case, the size of head, trunk, and limbs are all proportionate to each other but are smaller than the size of an average person. Proportionate dwarfism is mostly caused by hormone deficiency. There is a possibility of correcting the condition by giving hormone injections while a child is still growing. This means that a person born with proportionate dwarfism may reach an average height trough treatment given at the correct time.

Disproportionate dwarfism

In this condition, the size of the body parts is much smaller than an average person and they are disproportionate to each other. Arms and legs may be shorter than the rest of the body proportionately. This is also the most common kind of dwarfism.

Health risks due to dwarfism

There are several health complications related to dwarfism. Some of these are

• Bowed legs, hunching of the back

• Arthritis

• Pressure on the spinal cord (spinal stenosis)

• Spinal pressure at the base of the skull

• Excess brain fluid (hydrocephalus)

• Sleep apnea

• Delays in motor skills development as a baby

• Weight gain that can place more strain on the spine and joints

People with dwarfism are often treated with discrimination due to ignorance and bias against disabled people in the society. People with the condition can have normal intellect can go to school or work, have a family and live their lives like everyone else.

People make fun of my lack of height even today. I still face comments like ‘he is shorter than the table’. I have learned to ignore them and not feel bad. I know they say it out of ignorance.- India’s first World Dwarf TT champion Harendra Trivedi

However serious medical complications due to dwarfism can result in disability and make life challenging for people. The inclusion of dwarfism under the RPWD Act 2016 ensures, equality, respect and dignity to people with the condition.

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