ABC13 gets special tour of little people convention


TV cameras have never been allowed inside, until this year. Former Houston City Councilman Joe Roach, a dwarf himself, invited us along for a look at the amazing world of little people.

Under the bright lights and inside the honky-tonks, the sound of the steel guitar fills the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.

But for one special week, the sound of little feet is pounding the pavement takes over America's music city.

"This is one of our larger conventions," National President of the Little People Association Lois Lamb said.

Nearly 3,000 short-statured people have traveled from all over the world to Nashville for this once-a-year event.

"It's actually pretty exciting, because when you are by yourself or just with you average-size friends you will probably only see another dwarf around probably like twice a year," said 14-year-old Matt, who attended the convention.

Some come looking for a partner, a spouse.

"This is the one week out of the whole year that we are all on the same playing field," 26-year-old Leighann Breen said. "It's speed dating on crack, and it's like that because you have one week to get to know everything about this person."

Others come to find everyday items that can't be found in the big world.

From little furniture to peddle extensions for driving, to hundred of products specially adapted for little people.

"I contacted the LPA, found out if there was a need. I was able to go into some homes of little people who were very gracious to help me, tell me what their needs were and extend the line," said Tracy Steele, who designs furniture for little people.

There's even time for friendly competition.

"It's a way to get dwarfs who have always been picked last and all that to really show their athleticism with all other dwarfs," basketball player Teddy Tilkin said.

But the biggest draw to the "little people" convention is the chance to see doctors who specialize in treating dwarfs.

"He'll just look at every joints and bones in the body and look at X-rays," 16-year-old Dane Lantier said.

Dwarfs often suffer from multiple ailments including, back issues, brittle bone disease, and knee and joint problems. For many, it's the first time they'll have access to a specialist.

"The convention allows these families to get as much information as they need and this information will help them make medical decisions and will improve treatment," skeletal specialist Dr. William McKenzie said.

It may be just one week but for little people, it's the chance of a lifetime, the chance to feel like everything and everyone is just the right size.

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