There are a few reports regarding Amy's appearance at the Lakes Health Conference in Iowa.
This article is more about Amy talking about the show.
She tells the people she meets about her condition anyway -- if for no other reason than to help with the terminology.
"I'm a little person with dwarfism -- because when you say 'little person' that doesn't really give the connotation as to: What exactly does that mean? I face my own challenges and my own obstacles," she says. "The one thing that I really want to communicate to people is that we all have challenges. We all have obstacles. Mine is obviously more prevalent because people can see it -- it's a physical disability. But, I think the biggest thing to overcome is your own personal attitude and perception of yourself."
"I think a lot of people are trying to meet some goal or some guideline on who they should be and how they should act," Roloff said. "I spent way too much time worrying about what other people think. I think I missed out on a lot of opportunities. The old saying is very true: 'The older you get, the wiser you are' hopefully. If I could know what I know now and go back in time, my life would be completely different."
Roloff "was really pretty much against it," at first.
"I've got kids and it's hard enough to go out there and be the best you can be and put on this persona," she said. "Now, they're into your house -- where else do you go to hang out, let loose, wear sweatpants and no makeup?"
Roloff now sees the show as an opportunity to educate people -- not only about dwarfism, but about disabilities in general.
"We just come in a different package," Roloff said. "We have more challenges and obstacles than other people do, but I often tell people this is the only life I know. I adapt the best I can and overcome certain things I overcome, because, if not, I'll be standing still and not living life."
The "life" viewers see when they tune in is a fairly accurate account. The family's ups and downs are not airbrushed or dramatized for the most part. The only time TV factors into the otherwise normal aspects of a day is when the family goes on a trip. The logistics of a camera crew following the family to hotels and other venues takes a bit of preparation.
"I'd say, overall the show is as real as it gets," Roloff said. "There are no scripted parts. They're just there filming."
She also made a point of trying to be herself whether the cameras were on or not. "I didn't want to go out in public afterward and have two different faces," she explains. It has also helped that the show has maintained the same producer and core team of cameramen and sound crews. Her home is her personal space, she says and a lot of changes would make the filming "more like business."
Roloff also made a point to tell her children their job is school -- TV conforms to their lives, she tells them, their lives don't conform to the TV show. The family still has to go back to their community, family and friends once the camera goes away.
"I think that's one of the reasons why the show works," Roloff said. "It's pretty real. It's pretty much just about our life. I'm grateful for the parents who have allowed their kids to be on TV because if that didn't happen, I don't know if we'd be on as long. It's important for my kids to have that regular, normal life, like any other kids."
Roloff knows the family lives in a reality show world where "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is now just "Kate Plus 8."
"I always contend there are problems to begin with even before TV even comes in there," Roloff said. "I think TV just brings them out more. It's like the door is open a little more. I think that's an added stress and frustration into whatever is happening in the family dynamic. Matt and I even have ups and downs. Part of that is just the season of life we're in, too. I would never say TV caused anything that's happening in my family or if it ever did."
Her speaking engagement Friday was a collaboration between Iowa Lakes Community College and Northwest Iowa Community College. She hopes the conference attendees leave with a better understanding of disabilities -- and a better outlook.
"Life does suck sometimes," she said. "That's OK as long as you don't stay in that attitude. Give yourself that break -- that 'yeah this is a hard day and I don't like what's happening to me.' OK, give yourself pity for a day or two.
"Then get out of it. Continue on, the adventure is still happening."
You can read the full article here:
This article is more about Amy's speech at the conference:
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer
Roloff vividly recalled in first grade when she refused to go to school. It was also the first day her mother was starting a new job. Her father came home from work and said something to her that has remained with her ever since.
"God doesn't make mistakes but there's a reason and a purpose that you're here," her father said.
"It keeps me focused," Roloff said of that message from her father. "It keeps me reminded."
She continues to tell her son Zach the same thing plus another message: "If you want to do something, go for it."
"Everyone has challenges. Everyone has obstacles they need to overcome," Roloff said. "It took me a while to understand that life is a beach. I love the journey. I love the adventure.
Listening to Amy Roloff for an hour and a half is like looking through a window into your own soul.
Roloff, whose family stars in the reality show "Little People Big World" on The Learning Channel, offered a very inspirational message to attendees at the Lakes Health Conference Friday in the Arrowwood Resort in Okoboji. For six seasons, viewers have seen the ups - and downs - of a family that lives a very normal life despite fact that Roloff and her husband and one of their children have dwarfishm.
"You could look at it as a burden or you could look at it as an opportunity," Roloff said, echoing that refrain throughout her remarks.
It's a message from which we all could learn.
While Roloff and her husband Matt and son Zach have successfully dealt with dwarfism, how many of us suffer from another smallness that may be even more difficult from which to extricate ourselves.
We're talking about a smallness of ideas - of prejudice, of judging others without getting to know them first, of lack of imagination. That's a smallness that in many ways is even more difficult to overcome than physical.
Roloff and her family met the challenge and beat it. However, those of us who really don't have an excuse seem to be unable to overcome that smallness of mind which is even more limiting.
For some reason, we need someone with a disability and who overcomes it to inspire us. But Roloff addressed that too.
"God doesn't make mistakes but there's a reason and a purpose that you're here," Roloff recalled her father as saying.