People that have not met me in person are surprised to learn that
I’m really short, and the shortest in my family (of six kids), AND that
my average sized13 year old daughter, is now taller than me!

And what’s surprised ME about this as I’ve gotten older, is that this
thing that was an annoyance as a teenager (mainly because people
assumed I was younger than I was and my career as a dancer or
top netballer was not going to come to fruition!), has really become
an asset as a child and adolescent psychologist that works with kids
on the autism spectrum.

Often kids can be understandably anxious when then come to meet
a psychologist for the first time, but I think that for most kids when
they see me, it is difficult not to be put at ease, when I’m not an
intimidating figure.

I find my height is something I’m comfortable to talk about (as the
kids usually mention it!), it’s something I can empathise with (the
kids who feel they look different to their peers-whether shorter, taller
etc), and over time it’s a frequent rapport builder as the kids check
their height against mine and I become their personal measuring
stick as they grow to surpass me over the years!

I share with them, that height, like lots of differences that we may
not always be comfortable with about ourselves, do not necessarily
need to be changed to become like everyone else. In fact, learning
to love those differences about ourselves is the real challenge and
real celebration.

Published by Kate French

Clinical Psychologist; expertise in autism and child and family psychology.

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