Kudos to LEGO for being the first toymaker to positively respond to Rebecca Atkinson’s call to celebrate disabled kids worldwide by encouraging the toy industry and children’s TV to better culturally represent the 150 million disabled kids worldwide.
LEGO Launches First Disabled Figure
Toy Like Me was established in April 2015 after UK journalist Rebecca Atkinson noticed the lack of disability representation in toys. Rebecca had spent nearly 20 years working in TV production and print journalism (including Childrens BBC) and had always been interested in the way these industries represent disabled people, but this was the first time she had noticed the lack of representation in the toy industry.
above: Rebecca Atkinson of Toy Like Me
Toy Like Me began making over toys to give them disabilities and asking other parents to do the same. The results soon when viral and their story was shared on news outlets around the world.
above: Toy Like Me has made over dolls to include the visually impaired, hearing disabled and congenital birthmarks
Atkinson, who is herself partially deaf and partially sighted, launched an online campaign along with parents of children with disabilities and parents who grew up with disabilities themselves. The crowdfunded campaign is to encourage the toy industry to accurately represent disabled children in their products.
Her petition at Change.org to LEGO directly garnered over 20k signatures and announced on January 27th, with much elation, that LEGO has responded and will begin with introducing the first minifig in a wheelchair. The LEGO wheelchair user with an assistance dog in their Fun in the Park set was unveiled at the London Toy Fair this week.
The Fun In The Park set which includes the wheelchair minifig and assistance dog shown above will launch in June:
LEGO City ‘Fun at the Park’:
Just the tip of the iceberg, Toy Like Me hopes to get more toy designers and manufacturers to include dolls with disabilities and congenital conditions such as hearing loss, blindness, birthmarks, splints, even a cleft lip like the doll shown below – and with which I was born.
Learn more at Toy Like Me.