At the High End

Designer Breakfast Boards for the Handicapped are Made by Hand in Bethel 

Sometimes it's a positive thing when it takes a second look to properly realise what one has seen...for example, when it involves aids for people with handicaps. Often, such items make a purely functional impression, bring all the charm of a hospital into one's own living space, and remind the affected person only too vividly, every day, of their handicap. Therapist and interior designer Silke Scholz has a remedy: the founder of the company funktioform develops daily living aids with attractive designs such as the round breakfast board "Schmierflink" (the German product name uses "flink" -- which means "nimble" -- to make a wordplay on the term "Schmierfink", meaning "messy or dirty person"). 

The board is intended for those who have only limited or no use of one arm. Such a handicap can be a particular problem when spreading butter or jam on a slice of bread -- while one hand does the spreading, the hand which would normally hold the bread is missing. Where once nails would have been driven into the board, in order to create some stability, Schmierflink can now take over.

The board has a raised edge all the way around, which fills in for the second hand and holds the bread while it is being spread. The product is made of maplewood, has a retaining edge for the table, and slip-proof "feet". It is produced by hand in one of the workshops of the charitable foundation Bodelschwinghschen Stiftungen Bethel proWerk. Based on the guiding principle of supporting each person in a manner which is appropriate to her or his personality, persons are employed there who have a handicap, psychiatric impairment, or other disadvantage. 

At first glance, one does not even notice the designer board's characteristics which render it a living aid. The entire table can thus be set for a harmonious and attractive appearance with "Schmierflinks" . Silke Scholz also employs the "universal design" concept in the design and selection of other daily aids, which (in addition to Schmierflink) are available in her online shop at www.funktioform.de. The board has a further advantage for users with and without handicaps: the raised edge keeps the number of crumbs on the tablecloth to a minimum.

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