Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 2:22PM
Judith Nitchie in advocacy, ambulation, children, disability, inclusion, legos, play, toys, wheelchairs

In June 2016 Lego will release a 'minifigure' of a child in a wheelchair!! Lego enthusiasts, please support greater representation and buy this figure!

Lego introduced 'minifigures' in 1978. The toys represent families, professionals, athletes, superheroes, ninjas, game characters, zombies, skateboarders, zombie skateboarders, and so on. This will be their first minifigure with an apparent disability.

Why is this a big deal?

The toys most of us know give no representation of anyone with a disability (unless you count Barbie who cannot stand without her high heels!). This shortchanges not only children with disabilities but all children...and all of us.

Children find themselves in their play. They work out conflicts, take on roles, and create dramas from their lives and from what they see in the world around them. What does it say to a disabled child to not find themselves represented? What does it say to a fully-abled child about the disabled children and adults in their lives? What does it say as we become adults?

When there is no natural inclusion in play, disability becomes 'not normal', 'wrong', even scary. The 'disabled' can be overlooked, considered weird or an inconvenience, certainly not an ordinary part of everyday life. The person with disability can struggle with a sense of self, identity, self-esteem, and a positive sense of belonging.

We can change this! Lego is making a start.

Click these links for more:

Lego minifigure in a wheelchair

Dolls with 'differences'

Toy Like Me (advocacy group) Facebook page

Article originally appeared on chronic illness, grief and loss counseling and therapy in San Francisco, California (
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