Group says little people still disadvantaged in Germany
The Local · 3 Jun 2011, 10:40
Published: 03 Jun 2011 10:40 GMT+02:00
“A lot needs to be improved,” said Karl-Heinz Klingebiel, honorary chairman of the German Association for People of Short Stature and their Families (BKMF), at the organization’s national meeting in Hohenroda, in eastern Hesse.
“Little people still aren't given enough opportunities. They are not sufficiently included and supported.”
Little people are often defined as those shorter than 150 centimetres (4 feet 11 inches) due to a medical condition such as dwarfism. The BKMF estimates there are about 100,000 such people in Germany.
The association complained that little people are often sent to schools for those with mental problems, although they are only physically disadvantaged.
There are also problems when little people look for a job, Klingebiel said.
“When two people apply, the bigger one will be hired,” he said.
Additionally, everyday life can be challenging because most pubs and restaurants have toilets and other infrastructure designed only for regular-sized people.
Even basic travel can be tough since many German trains are not designed to accommodate little people’s needs.
The BKMF has been calling for disabled children to be included in regular classrooms to improve the educational opportunities for little people.
Little people have gained a higher profile in recent years due to the success of TV shows like “Little People, Big World” in the United States, which tried to show mainstream society the challenges they face.