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World Dwarf Games athlete educates CQ students

Rockhampton's Taneya Shannen is on a mission to raise awareness of Dwarfism.
Rockhampton's Taneya Shannen is on a mission to raise awareness of Dwarfism. Allan Reinikka Rokataneya

ROCKHAMPTON'S Taneya Shannen may be small but she is using her life experience to make a big difference.

The 20-year-old has made it her mission to raise the awareness of dwarfism in Central Queensland throughout October, National Dwarfism Awareness Month, by visiting the local schools.

Taneya said it was really important to inform the younger generations about dwarfism.

"I've spoken to some schools in Rockhampton and I plan to speak to a lot more before October is over," she said.

"It's really important to raise the awareness of dwarfism to the younger generation because they don't know much about it and don't realise that we aren't that different to average sized people.

"I'm really trying to get the message out there because at the end of the day we can still do everything average sized people can do."

This is the first year the former Rockhampton Grammar School student has approached schools, wanting to teach people about her life.

Taneya said she thought visiting local schools and talking to the students would be the best way to help them learn about Dwarfism.

"I knew it would be a good experience to go visit schools and talk to the students about my life," she said.

"I show the kids a photo of my family who are all average-height, tell them about my story and how I competed in the World Dwarf Games last year. I also show a video of a dwarf living in New York and how the public treat him on a daily basis.

"It's a really good eye-opener when people watch it because it makes them change their mind about how they should treat people with dwarfism."

If you would like to purchase a Standing Tall for Dwarfism Awareness wristband for $3 visit the Understanding our Differences-Australia Facebook page.

DWARFISM FACTS

Over 200 distinct forms of dwarfism and skeletal dysplasia's

80% of people with dwarfism have average-height parents and siblings

651,000 persons internationally have a condition of dwarfism



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