Actor Warwick Davis and Short Statured People of Australia president Meredith Young feature in Carole Lander’s book Little People: BIG LIVES

January 2, 2014 @ No Comments

Little People BIG LIVES_Cover_Low ResolutionSTEREOTYPES from fairytales, circus acts and the media put barriers in the way of people with dwarfism being accepted for who they are, says the president of Short Statured People of Australia.

“The only thing different about us is our physical stature – there’s no intellectual, sexual or any other difference – it’s purely physical,” Moorabbin educator and all-round athlete Meredith Young told the Leader.

“There’s been so much media around dwarf entertainment people think this is all we do and that we’re there to be laughed at.

Ms Young said most members disliked the word dwarf because it was entwined with stereotypical images few wanted to be associated with.

“When people ask me, ‘what would you like to be called?’, I say ‘I’d like to be called Meredith’.

Ms Young, badminton silver medallist and co-captain of the Australian team that recently competed in the World Dwarf Games, is one of 11 high-profile people featured in Northcote author Carole Lander’s book Little People: BIG LIVES.

British actor Warwick Davis (Life’s Too ShortStar WarsHarry Potter) also agreed to do an interview for the book.

“He chose to meet in a pub in Peterborough (England),” Lander said.

“During the two-and-a-half hours he spent talking to me, people kept coming up and asking to photograph him.

“He explained that he understood why people stop and look at people of short stature and why they want to take photographs.

“He told me ‘People are naturally curious and we are a curiosity’.”

“I said to him, ‘Are you sure it’s not because you’re famous?'”

Another interviewee was Essendon mediator, radio presenter and photographer Margherita Coppolino.

Lander said she decided to write the book after working for 10 years with Ms Young, who is also the program manager in school-based assessment with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Ms Young said it was no concern that Lander herself was not short statured.

“There’s a great need for such a book and I don’t mind whose written it,” she said.

“I’d like to see it in every school where there’s a short statured child.”

One in 25,000 births result in the genetic mutation dwarfism, of which there are 350 types.

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month.

Little People: BIG LIVES is available at:

(From the Herald-Sun (Melbourne), October 18, 2013)

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