A mum and her seven-year-old son have spoken to youngsters at a primary school assembly to raise awareness and understanding of dwarfism.
Rhonda Cutmore, 39, said she and her son Etienne Kourouma took the initiative to ‘spread a little awareness’ to year one, two and three pupils at Silverdale School, where Etienne attends, as part of Dwarfism Awareness Month (DAM).
Rhonda and Etienne took to the stage to speak to the school assembly on Wednesday (October 22) after Etienne suggested the idea to his mum.
Rhonda said: “Etienne initially asked me to speak to the school to help explain to the younger children about dwarfism, so they might find it easier to understand that, just because Etienne is smaller, or the same size as them, that he is in fact older than them. The younger children just don’t get why he is smaller, they don’t understand, and this was a good opportunity to talk to them openly about it and explain that we are just born this way - we are the same as them, but different.”
Rhonda said Etienne has no problem being accepted at school and is a popular boy with many friends, adding: “Silverdale School is, and always has been, a positive experience for Etienne. Everyone is very kind and friendly and there’s no bullying. Silverdale is promoting positive awareness of dwarfism by supporting us to talk in its assembly.”
Though initially Etienne wanted his mum to speak to the school on his behalf, once she took the helm, he overcame his apprehension and had the confidence to join her in the talk, which included answering questions from pupils and teachers.
One youngster asked Rhonda how she manages to reach things. She said: “I told them that I use a stick or a stool or will ask people to help. One teacher asked what the correct terminology is to describe us, and it’s dwarfism, or dwarf, but midget is offensive.”
Rhonda and Etienne belong to a group called RGA which offers friendship, information and support for anyone with dwarfism. As part of the DAM the RGA made and released a song called
Rhonda said after Etienne was empowered to speak at the assembly, he now has the confidence to read a story on dwarfism to the school’s reception class, adding: “I am very proud of him.” Silverdale’s deputy headteacher, Stuart Maclean, said the school supports any initiative that raises the awareness of and celebrates diversity. She said: “We are very proud of Etienne and Mrs Cutmore for organising and delivering such a wonderful assembly to our children and staff.”