For some people, being little can mean big problems. For Ed Lang, dealing with supermarket shelves, high curbs and some water fountains can be difficult. Lang, a 40-year-old former journalist who works as a technical writer for IBM, is 4 feet 2 inches tall. He and about 80 other little people from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama are in Boca Raton, Fla., for a three-day regional conference of the Little People of America. Little People. Not midgets. "We abhor that word, `midget,' " Lang said. "When people hear it, they think of a circus, and that keeps them from seeing us as serious or professional." Actor Billy Barty founded the organization in 1957. About 5,000 of the nearly 1 million Americans under 4 feet 10 inches are members. This weekend, the group will dine, dance and listen to physicians discuss advances in the field of dwarfism.