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Case Study Self-employed watchmaker and optician


The man is self-employed and employs three people in his optician and watchmaker business.

Disability and impairment:

The man has multiple sclerosis, a spinal disease and is therefore severely disabled. He is dependent on the use of a wheelchair. His grasping space as well as his mobility are limited, and he is unable to operate controls with his feet.


The man is a master optician and watchmaker.

Workplace and work environment:

The first floor was the store, with the optician and watchmaker workshop behind it. The apartment on the first and second floor was accessible through a staircase located on the side. This staircase was constructed quite narrowly, so that a stair lift could not be installed. The existing bathroom could only have been converted to be handicapped accessible at considerable expense. All in all, the building with the store, the workshop and the sanitary room was not barrier-free for the wheelchair user.

In order to enable the man to continue his job, a floor was built on top of the rear workshop extension, which was designed to be handicapped accessible. Access to this new living space, with a handicapped accessible sanitary room or bathroom, is provided by an exterior elevator. This was installed from the rear of the building and is easy to use due to its automatic door openers. Through an already existing garage, the man can now reach the back of the house with his car, from where he has easy access to the store and via the lift to the apartment. In the bathroom, a height-adjustable mirror was installed above the vanity and a non-slip floor. A great help is the narrow and height-adjustable electric wheelchair at the watchmaker's workstation, as it requires little space and can also be used to compensate for the limited gripping space. Here, the master craftsman repairs historical watches. In the field of ophthalmic optics, the electric wheelchair is also used to compensate for the limited gripping space and as a mobility aid.

Thanks to a specially converted car with automatic transmission, which allows easy transfer from the wheelchair to the driver's seat, the man is mobile and can, for example, attend trade fairs as well as further training courses. The car was converted to manual operation only (accelerator and brake). Appropriate conditions were imposed by the driver's license office and the TÜV for driving the car.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

and participation:
The design suitable for disabled people was supported by the Integration or Inclusion Office. The consultation took place thereby by the technical consulting service of the integration and/or Inclusionsamtes. The man's livelihood was thus assured and he can continue to work in his own job.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 6 Mar 2023