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Exclusive: ‘Little People, Big World’ star Zach Roloff’s son asks why he’s different from his friends

“I had to have the dwarf talk with my son way too early."
zach roloff and family.
Zach Roloff and his three children all have a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia.TLC
/ Source: TODAY

“Little People, Big World” star Zach Roloff and his three children, Jackson, 6, Lilah, 4, and Josiah, 23 months, all have dwarfism.

While Zach has been living with the genetic condition for 33 years, his son Jackson is just starting to figure out what it means to have a physical difference. 

In a exclusive clip from the TLC show’s newest episode, Zach shares with wife Tori how Jackson asked why his friend couldn’t compete in an upcoming Dwarf Athletic Association of America (DAAA) sporting event. 

“And I said, ‘Because he’s not a dwarf,’’ Zach says. “Then (Jackson) goes, ‘What? I’m a dwarf? What does that mean?”

“I had to have the dwarf talk with my son way too early,” he adds, with a laugh.

Zach tells Tori that Jackson was “kind of just confused,” and didn’t understand why his classmates aren’t dwarves.

“I said, ‘You know, that’s how God made you,’” Zach recalls. 

Later, during a confessional on the reality show, Zach confesses it wasn’t a conversation he was prepared to have with the first grader. 

“You know it’s coming, you know the questions are going to come… but I don’t have it planned out in my head,” he says.

Zach notes that when questions do come up, he answers them truthfully and carefully. He’s also mindful about not projecting his own insecurities and worries onto Jackson.

“I don’t want to show too much emotion or make too big a deal of it,” he says. “I just hope Tori and me can help him mentally get through it.” 

Zach and his three kids all have a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia.

“If a parent has achondroplasia, then there’s a 50% chance of having a baby with achondroplasia,” Dr. John Pappas, director of clinical genetic services at NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, previously told

Achondroplasia occurs in one per 26,000 to 40,000 births, according to the nonprofit Little People of America. Most little people have a normal life expectancy, but many suffer from orthopedic complications, which can often be treated with surgery.

“Little People, Big World” airs Tuesdays at 9/8 Central on TLC. 

Zach and Tori announced on their “Raising Heights” podcast in February that they are exiting the reality series after 25 seasons. 

The couple, who married in 2015, said that their children’s increasing requests to keep aspects of their lives private played a large part in their decision to walk away.

“It has gotten to this point where our oldest, Jackson, has voiced his opinion on things that he doesn’t want to be a part of with the filming of the show,” Tori said. “There have been certain things that he has asked not to share, and I think that as a parent, we’ve really taken that to heart of having to stand back and look at the whole picture. I think that was a huge reason for us stepping away."