Earlier this year, we covered Toy Like Me, a movement calling for big name toy companies like LEGO to make toys that are more reflective of the children that play with them. Shortly after, LEGO announced at the International Toy Fair that it will include a brand new mini-figure that uses a wheelchair in their LEGO City “Fun in the Park” set. This decision is a step in the right direction that has parents and children alike rejoicing in the increased representation of wheelchair users in toys. Today, it’s a wheelchair being depicted, but how soon will a wheelchair van be included in the set, too? This breakthrough is sure to show the demand for wheelchairs and wheelchair accessible vehicles in toys to interested and open toymakers.
LEGO’s Decision Emphasizes Inclusion
The release of the “Fun in the Park” set is scheduled for June 2016, but people are taking their approval online with comments of support and excitement. The figure gaining a lot of buzz in particular is a boy wearing a beanie in a wheelchair, but there is another notable addition to the LEGO City line. There is also a stay-at-home dad in the set, shown pushing a baby in a stroller. LEGO’s new products come at a time where they’ve been pressed to show more diversity in its products—to which they responded by making more toys reflective of the world we live in.
Toys “R” Us Also Pro-Inclusion for Kids
LEGO isn’t the only major toy company that supports the inclusion of all skill sets. Toys “R” Us has produced a toy guide for differently-abled kids for more than twenty years. The complimentary, one-of-a-kind resource offers categories for parents to choose toys best suited to their child’s ability. Toys more finely-tuned for creativity, self esteem or fine motor skills are all detailed in the disability resource. The guide is the culmination of work and research from the National Lenotek Center, which evaluates all the toys, and supports organizations that advocate for children with special needs. Since its inception, it’s helped children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities pair with toys they can most enjoy.
LEGO’s representation of wheelchair users is an advancement that many people can support. With hope that more toymakers can get on board with wheelchair users exemplified in their work, here’s to LEGO making more figures with wheelchairs, wheelchair vans and more.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our Quality Assurance Program mobility equipment dealers.