Coping with daily life
There are a few practical considerations for you to think about when adapting your home life around your child’s growth disorder.
These include aids and adjustments in the home and school as well as shopping for clothing.
Aids and adjustments in the home and school
In daily life, being shorter than average can lead to some practical issues. Many things are too big or too high, making everyday life a little bit of a challenge. For instance eating at the table, sitting at a desk or even using the sink or toilet can be difficult.
As your child gets older they may struggle with keyboards, ATM machines, mailboxes or even shelves at the supermarket.
Adjustments and aids can alleviate this difficulty. These might include:
- Additional furniture – for instance adding a footstool to the table, desk or sofa
- Toilet with a washing and drying function – if your child cannot reach to clean or wipe themselves
- Smaller keyboard and mouse at school
- A clamp: this is an extendable stick with grabber hand at the end to help to reach things
Try not to make furniture 'customised' - instead equip your home with aids that can help your child to use normal sized things.
For instance, do not let your child eat at a lower table, instead, ensure they have a good footstool to reach their chair, and ensure the chair has good padding so they can reach the table.
This way your child will be able to be more independent – for instance taking their aids with them when going to stay with family or friends.
Clothing and footwear
Clothes and shoes are a hot topic amongst young people with growth disorders. It can be difficult to find something fun that is age appropriate, especially as children enter adolescence.
There are some shops where you can purchase custom made clothing, but these are generally quite expensive. As your child gets older they will become more concerned with wanting to look and dress like their friends.
Uniqlo is a company that originates from Japan and specialises in smaller clothes sizes. It has a larger size range compared to most shops and may have 'fashionable' clothing that will fit a smaller child or teenager. Also try petite collections at your local retailer as they may sometimes fit a smaller teenager.
Try to shop around and look online as you can often get a larger variety on the web. Online shops such as My Stature specialise in clothing for smaller people. The Short Persons Support website also has a list of clothing and shoes suppliers especially for smaller people.
If you can’t find clothing that fits your child, try to look for clothes that can be easily adapted such as:
- Anything that can be hemmed to a shorter length - such as t-shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses.
- Anything that stretches – such as leggings and tights, these will often be smaller to start with.
- Accessorise – use fashionable accessories to help make your child’s clothing more in line with styles their age.
You might also want to cut the age labels out of your child’s clothing. This will prevent them feeling disheartened (for instance wearing age 6 when they are age 11) and other children from seeing what size of clothing they wear.
Use the links below to find out more about:
- Symptoms and types of growth disorders
- When to see your doctor and how to get diagnosed
- How to treat growth disorders
- How can we live with it - with stories from real life patients and a section on needle fear.