On Thursday, the Independent revealed that Danish toymaker LEGO will release a special minifigure later this year. For the first time ever, there will be a young LEGO figure in a wheelchair. According toNPR, a number of LEGO fan outlets published the photographs of the tiny figurine, which were released to great acclaim at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg on Wednesday.
A number of toymakers had been approached by a group called “Toy Like Me”, who presented them with a petition containing more than 20,000 signatures. They were challenging toy companies to create designs which reflect real life, and would help end the “cultural marginalization” of children with disabilities. The petitioners approached LEGO, Hasbro and Fisher Price, among others, asking them to ‘positively represent disability in your toys and help generations of kids grow up with a better attitude to human difference!’
LEGO, a company who believes that ‘all children have the right to fun, creative and engaging play experiences’, accepted their challenge. A smiling youth, seated in a wheelchair, wearing a beanie cap and a hoodie, will be incorporated in LEGO’s City line and will go on sale in June. A previously released LEGO figure of an elderly man in a wheelchair was criticized for reinforcing stereotypes about wheelchairs only being for the elderly.
The new figure debuted at the Toy Fair in LEGO’s Fun at the Park set, which also included figures of parents, babies and pets. In her Change.org petition, writer Rebecca Atkinson stated, “You’d make a lot of people very happy, you’d make a lot of kids feel very included, if you say YES.” Campaign organizers and children’s charities are ecstatic at LEGO’s decision. “We’ve got genuine tears of joy right now.”
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