You’re at the mall, and you see a dwarf with a big shopping bag trying hard to hoist it onto a table in the food court. You want to help, but you’re concerned you might offend the person. Don’t worry about it, says Amy Roloff, the mother in the TLC reality series “Little People, Big World.”
You’re at the mall, and you see a dwarf with a big shopping bag trying hard to hoist it onto a table in the food court. You want to help, but you’re concerned you might offend the person.
Don’t worry about it, says Amy Roloff, the mother in the TLC reality series “Little People, Big World.”
“Everyone has to lighten up,” Roloff said in a telephone interview this week with the Rockford Register Star. “People today are being so politically correct. We are so afraid to approach anyone for fear of being labeled ‘whatever,’ ” she said.
“The best way to approach someone who has a disability is to pretend they are average size, and ask, ‘Do you need any help? I will be happy to assist you,’ ” said Roloff, who is featured speaker for an Oct. 9 RAMP fundraiser at Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort in Rockford. She is a dwarf, as are her husband, Matt, and son, Zach, though the couple’s three other children are average size.
The appropriate response from the little person would be that they don’t or do need help, thank you. But if that person doesn’t respond in the manner you’d hoped for, remember he or she may be having a bad day, Roloff said.
“Unfortunately, a lot more of the burden to be approachable is on the person with a disability, and that can be wearing and tiring.”
Roloff, 46, will share her life experiences to inspire people with and without disabilities at the 18th annual luncheon for RAMP. Roloff said she’s especially glad to be speaking here because of RAMP’s focus on helping people in the region with disabilities become more independent.
Speaking engagements have become a bigger part of Roloff’s life thanks to her TV fame. The fourth season of “Little People, Big World” premieres Oct. 13 and features Matt traveling to Iraq to help a family with three dwarf children in desperate need of medical attention.
If she had it over to do again, would she allow a TV crew to film her family’s everyday life on a 33-acre pumpkin-growing farm in Hillsboro, Ore.? It’s hard to say, she said. “We have given up a lot and gained a lot.”
The downside: The cameras are there all the time, and that limits privacy. “I wanted my house to be a haven, where you don’t have to worry about (outside appearances),” she said. “But when the TV cameras come in, where do you go?”
On the upside: The TV producers are “like family,” she said, and the family has come to know so many good people as a result of the show. Roloff said she believes the show is “making people think about anyone who has a different physical appearance,” she said. “We might look different on the outside, but we have a whole lot more similarities about our hopes, dreams and fears.”
Georgette Braun can be reached at (815) 987-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Amy Roloff of “Little People, Big World,” speaker at RAMP’s 18th annual luncheon fundraiser
When: 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9
Where: Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort, 700 Riverside Blvd., Rockford
Cost: $40; reservation deadline is Friday
Information: 815-968-7467; rampcil.org; tlc.com