The German association of short-statured people and their families (BKMF e.V.) is a nationwide society that has been promoting self-help in health-related matters and representing the interests of short-statured people in Germany since 1988.
We assist anyone seeking advice (individuals affected, families and specialists) by providing information, guidance and counselling. We hold seminars and conferences regularly for families and professionals. The BKMF e.V. acts on behalf of short-statured people both in society and at a political level and undertake research projects. Complementing this work, we bring out regular publications, like our magazine “betrifft kleinwuchs” (meaning “concerning short stature”); various information pamphlets written in a patient friendly language, partly available in English and expert publications. A scientific advisory committee of medical, psychological and educational specialists supports the BKMF e.V.
An important principle of the BKMF e.V. is that it combines its voluntary activities in regional societies, working groups and task forces with its full-time work in the Advisory Centre and Offices
Some 100 000 Germans suffer from restricted growth, that is they either are, or will be as adults, between 80cm (2ft 7in) und 150cm (4ft 11in) tall. Compared with this the average height in Germany for men is 175cm (5ft 9in) and for women 167cm (5ft 5¾in). Growth restriction can have many different causes. There are more than 700 varieties of restricted growth. In our publications we describe many different forms and their effects. The pharmaceutical options for treatment are limited for most conditions, some people with restricted growth undergo surgery as teenagers or adults in order to be lengthened. All treatments are not advisable without proper professional advice.
Distinct help is therefore necessary in all social areas to strengthen affected persons and their families internally and externally: people suffering from restricted growth want to be and can be equal partners in society: society simply needs to accept this. The social net of state, private and institutional support has loopholes, which can only be closed by people with restricted growth and their families themselves, with commitment and authority. Our aim is to withdraw from “overdone care” to individual self-determination and freedom. This can only be achieved through self-help and supported self-help.
Tasks of the BKMF e.V.:
- To inform, counsel, look after and encourage short-statured people and their families
- To strengthen the affected family
- To care for our members
- To support parents in their acceptance of their children as they are
- To help people to cope with their diagnosis
- To facilitate the exchange of experiences between parents, affected people, doctors, psychologists, teachers etc.
- To cooperate with the German centers for growth, universities and specialized hospitals in order to get an early diagnosis of growth restriction and for the ensuing medical therapeutical, educational, psychological and social care and support
- To cooperate with institutions supplying early support.
- To cooperate with national and international organizations for the disabled
- To cooperate with (inter)national health care institutions
- To integrate people with restricted growth at nursery, school, in employment and thus in society
- To create opportunities for qualified vocational training for young people of short stature
- To undertake public relations work
- To advise and help with applications for disability cards, tax relief, physical aids etc.
The BKMF e.V. is member of the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross), ACHSE (German Alliance of Rare Diseases), the BAG Selbsthilfe (German Federal Association Help for the Disabled), Deutscher Behindertenrat (German Council for Disabled) and EURORDIS (European Rare Diseases Organization), the European Reference networks for rare endocrine and bone conditions ENDO-ERN and BOND-ERN.