Can’t vs. Shouldn’t

You know, talking about things LP kids can’t do versus shouldn’t reminds me of a recent conversation. A mom at an LPA regional cornered me recently to challenge what I contributed in a POLP workshop. She had a 6 1/2 yr. old achon daughter and had never heard of the Health Supervision Guidelines for Achondroplasia.

This 30 yr. study of 100 achondroplastic dwarfs was completely foreign to her yet she was active in LPA and lived in one of the most active districts in the organization.

She explained that her daughter did somersaults, headstands where she stood on her head and made her body fall backward or forward to the point that it flopped or thumped on the ground, and did other gymnastic type moves. It made me cringe when she described this to me. She said an ortho doc at her hospital familiar with dwarfism to her knowledge, but not on the MAB said it was perfectly fine as long as it wasn’t a trampoline. I explained nicely that these are guidelines and any parent can choose whether or not to follow them, but it is a very comprehensive study. She said she would talk to the doc during conference clinic.

The mom hunted me down to tell me that the doc said it was fine. I said that was her decision. She further asked me why I would say that somersaults are not recommended. I emphasized that there is a difference between can’t and shouldn’t. I’m sure any LP could do somersaults and contact sports. The question is . . . should they do it at the risk of major spinal surgery, numbness or even death. I’ve known LP friends and acquaintances of mine that have suffered health-wise because they just didn’t know. Remember, the study was probably done including peers my generation.

We live normal lives. That we do! But, with caution, because we in fact are built differently.

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