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Dwarfism: Criteria, Disability, Certificate, Types, Causes

people affected with dwarfism
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | September 9, 2019 (Last update: September 9, 2019)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

Dwarfism is a growth disorder characterized by shorter than average body height. Dwarfism is considered as a disability in many countries including the USA (under Americans with Disabilities Act), India (under Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act) and South Africa.

Criteria / Definition of Dwarfism

Human beings with adult body height less than 4 feet 10 inches (147.32cm) are considered to be affected with dwarfism.

The average height of dwarfism affected adult persons is 4 feet (122 cm)

Causes of Dwarfism

Dwarfism can be caused due to medical and genetic disorders. There are more than 200 causes of dwarfism — any of which can cause some type of dwarfism.

Types of Dwarfism

  1. Proportionate
  2. Disproportionate (also known as skeletal dysplasias)
    1. Achondroplasia
    2. Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias
    3. Diastrophic dysplasia

people affected with dwarfism

Proportionate Dwarfism

In this disorder the overall height of the body remains short but all body parts (like head, arms, legs, torso) grow proportionate to each other. This is condition is usually caused due to metabolic and hormonal disorders such as growth hormone deficiency.

Disproportionate Dwarfism

Some of the body parts are of average height and some other parts remain shorter than normal height. This type of dwarfism usually has genetic causes.


Occurrence: 1 in 40,000 babies.

Characterized by long trunk and shortened upper parts of arms and legs.

  • a large head with a prominent forehead
  • a flattened bridge of the nose
  • protruding jaw
  • crowded and misaligned teeth
  • forward curvature of the lower spine
  • bowed legs
  • flat, short, broad feet
  • double-jointedness

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias

Occurrence: 1 in 95,000 babies.

Characterized by a shortened trunk.

  • club feet
  • cleft palate
  • severe osteoarthritis in the hips
  • weak hands and feet
  • barrel-chested appearance

Diastrophic dysplasia

Occurrence: 1 in 100,000 babies.

Characterized by shortened forearms and calves.

  • deformed hands and feet
  • limited range of motion
  • cleft palate
  • ears with a cauliflower appearance

Dwarfism Meaning in Hindi

In Hindi language dwarfism is known as baunapan (बौनापन) and the affected person is (sometimes derogatorily) called bauna (बौना).

Is Dwarfism a Disease?

Dwarfism is considered to be a disability but it is not a disease that requires a “cure”. Affected people often live a normal life.

Do Dwarf People (Little People) have Lower Intellect?

No. Dwarfism is not an intellectual disability. Most of the dwarfism affected people have average intelligence.

Dwarfism Etiquette

  • Words like dwarf, little people, LP and Person of Short Stature are acceptable for addressing.
  • Name of the person should rather be used instead of these words.
  • Words like midget are offensive.

Famous Persons with Dwarfism

Warwick Davis

Warwick Ashley Davis is an English actor and television presenter. He played the title characters in Willow and the Leprechaun film series, the Ewok Wicket in Return of the Jedi and Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter films.

Warwick Davis: world worries about disability

Peter Dinklage

Peter Hayden Dinklage is an American actor. He played Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones, earning him international attention and acclaim.

Disability in Game of Thrones. Tyrion Lannister

Jyoti Amge

Jyoti has a Guinness World Record for being the world’s smallest living woman. She has appeared in many TV shows.

jyoti amge smallest woman dwarfism

If you would like to add any more information in this article on dwarfism, please share with us in the comments section. Thank you for connecting with WeCapable!

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10 responses to “Dwarfism: Criteria, Disability, Certificate, Types, Causes”

  1. Avatar yogesh yadav says:

    4 fut 9 inch hight ha kya certifacte ban sakta ha

  2. Avatar Brijesh Kumar Meena says:

    4 Foot 9 inch height ka P H cirtificate ban sakta h kya

  3. Avatar SINDHU JHA says:


  4. Avatar Gopal says:

    What is maximum height for physical handicap.

  5. Avatar Suwethaa sri says:

    My height is 138cm and my age is 23. Can I get disability certificate for dwarfism?

  6. Avatar Prashant Nage says:

    plz. share chart dwarfism for maximum height criterira

  7. Avatar Manish sikarwar says:

    My daughter is 19 years old hir hight is 4 ‘1” IS SHE Elegable for disability certificate

  8. Avatar Arsh says:

    My height is 4’2″. Am I eligible for a disability certificate?

  9. Avatar CURT NEILSON says:

    “Dwarfism” seems relative to a country’s average height; that is, something more like a percentage shorter than the national average should get that classification rather than 4’10 (which is taller than the average Indonesian!).

  10. Avatar Janice Bradley says:

    I feel sorry little people’s very sad . How you get there in Canada

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