Deaf journalist Rebecca Atkinson has written about the impact of Lego’s new plastic wheelchair minifgure for the Guardian. Read the whole article here.
Sometimes the smallest of things have the capacity to make the biggest of impacts. Last week Lego unveiled its first ever wheelchair-using mini-figure at Nuremberg toy fair, an inch-tall plastic boy sporting a beanie and hoodie who forms part of a Fun in the Park set going on sale in June this year. For a small guy he’s been making big waves, inspiring global press coverage and online jubilation from Lego fans, parents and disability groups.
“But he’s just a little guy,” I hear you say, “a plastic dude out for a wheel in the park with his dog and a bunch of other mini-figures. What’s the big deal?”
The message behind Lego’s wheelie boy is so much larger than his teeny-tiny stature. His birth in the toy box marks a seismic shift within children’s industries. There are 150 million children with disabilities worldwide, yet until now they have scarcely ever seen themselves positively reflected in the media and toys they consume.
In her recently published book Disability and Popular Culture, Australian academic Katie Ellis writes: “Toys mirror the values of the society that produce them …” If Lego is mirroring, it’s reflecting a better world. Intentionally or not, it has sent out a powerful message of inclusion.
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