Before Little People of America's National Gathering in Dallas, a Sign of Awareness

From left, Scott Lowry, Tuff Schoeneberg and William Molina referreed a kids' bocce game during a regional Little People of America meeting Saturday. Dallas will host the national LPA convention in 2012.
From left, Scott Lowry, Tuff Schoeneberg and William Molina referreed a kids' bocce game during a regional Little People of America meeting Saturday. Dallas will host the national LPA convention in 2012.
Patrick Michels

When the national conference of Little People of America comes to Dallas in 2012 -- the location was just announced -- it's expected to pack the downtown Sheraton with 3,000 members for a week in mid-summer. This weekend at the Sheraton, the LPA's Texas-Louisiana chapter drew a lighter crowd of about 100 for talks on staying healthy, a round of bocce ball and a Saturday night dance.

"It's a time to get together as one, and not stand out as the one in a group," says LPA Region 8 Executive Director Leigh Ann Breen.

Chris Olson, 12, from Grand Prairie, tosses a ball in the bocce game Saturday.
Chris Olson, 12, from Grand Prairie, tosses a ball in the bocce game Saturday.
Patrick Michels

"We want to get the word out that we are people first, that dwarfism affects a person's physical, but not the mental function," Breen says, pointing out that this weekend's meeting falls right in the middle of LPA's October Dwarfism Awareness Month campaign.

The LPA was outnumbered by a handful of larger conventions at the hotel this weekend. Still, Breen said this weekend's gathering was a deliberate nod intended to recognize the place where the national conference will be held in three years.

In one room perched in a Sheraton tower Saturday afternoon, kids learned to play bocce -- a staple of paralympics competitions. They lined up behind a strip of tape and rolled red, white and blue balls across the carpet. Much of the weekend is geared toward kids and parents, including a panel talk among teachers, and kids' play rooms. "It is very family-focused," Breen says. "It's a time for them to interact with each other and to make friends with kids their size."

Eight-year-old Aulden Love and his sister Marin, 5, from Longview, look out at downtown Dallas from the Sheraton's 38th floor.
Eight-year-old Aulden Love and his sister Marin, 5, from Longview, look out at downtown Dallas from the Sheraton's 38th floor.
Patrick Michels


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >