CoDA plans to develop innovative programs and projects that can effectively and efficiently solve problems related to dwarfism for individuals, families, organizations and others. CoDA has been designed to react quickly to special needs, with expertise, funding and networking services. Areas of concentration include:
Many dwarfs have difficulty finding medical professionals with adequate knowledge and experience in dealing with the medical issues of dwarfs. There has been limited medical research on the over 200 types of dwarfism and related health concerns. Also, it is often difficult for dwarfs to secure health insurance coverage due to chronic conditions associated with the many types of dwarfism.
Unemployment and underemployment are significant issues for dwarfs. Frequently, work accommodations are incorrectly perceived by employers to be expensive and complex. Employment discrimination for dwarfs is a fact of life despite federal and state laws. For employers looking to improve their workforce diversity and consider qualified dwarf applicants, it is difficult for them to reach the dwarf population and visa versa.
There are many obstacles regarding the adoption of dwarf children and dwarf adults adopting average size children. Health concerns, lifestyle challenges, financial issues and misconceptions about dwarfism create roadblocks. For example, dwarf children might face institutionalization due to these factors, especially anticipated health care costs. The cost of adoption also can prove insurmountable for families wishing to adopt dwarf children.
Post-secondary education is often unaffordable for dwarfs and families with dwarf children. Many scholarships are available for disadvantaged populations, but dwarfism has not fit as well within the qualification criteria. Some educational institutions may have little or no experience accommodating dwarf students, so selection policies may be an additional issue.
Accessibility in transportation, lodging, shopping, recreation and other areas have always been a major challenge for dwarfs. Although some progress has been made in the hospitality industry and in public building design, dwarfs endure a wide range of physical challenges as they function within society.
CoDA will develop specific programs and projects to address these areas. The level of need and potential impact will be key considerations for selection of action items. Due to the board of director’s extensive experience in matters affecting dwarfs, they will seek advice on programs and projects from outside experts as is prudent. Grant proposals from outside CoDA will be encouraged as the resources of the organization expand.
An additional area of activity for CoDA will be to build new alliances for organizations associated to dwarfism and support the efforts of Little People of America. Actions could include everything from connecting strategic partners to providing funding for innovative programs.
CoDA’s work will not just benefit the dwarf population. Our intention is to benefit society as a whole through education, research and economic initiatives. By improving the lives of dwarfs, we also expect to advance the interests of the millions of Americans of short stature who are not dwarfs.