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Lego boy in wheelchair playing ball with his friends in the park[/caption]
Playing is one of the most important parts of any child's healthy development. In the past, kids with special needs didn't have access to many toys or heroes that represented disabilities - and that can impact a young person's self image. Thankfully, it's now much easier to find inclusive toys that represent people with disabilities as major toy manufacturers begin to think more inclusively.
[bctt tweet="We put together a list of cool, inclusive toys and books for kids who roll! #AMSVans #SpecialNeedsKids" username="amsvans"]
Hot Wheels Wheelie Chair
This cool chair
was created to resemble extreme adaptive athlete Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham
's WCMX wheelchair. You may already know, Aaron Fotheringham is an extreme wheelchair athlete with spina bifida who was the pioneer of WCMX riding, in which people perform tricks and flips with their wheelchairs, similar to the way a skateboarder uses his board. Aaron travels the globe with groups like Nitro Circus
- and has landed amazing tricks, including the world's first double backflip in a wheelchair. If you get this toy for a kid you know, be sure to pull up some YouTube videos
of Aaron doing his thing! But, be sure to mention not to try this at home (at least, not without proper instruction and gear)!
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Photos of the Hotwheels Wheelie Chair in action, courtesy of Aaron Fotheringham.[/caption]
Lego Wheelchair Minifigure
What kids doesn't love legos? Fans celebrated in the summer of 2016, when Lego introduced a minifigure
in a wheelchair as part of its City line. The tiny figure features a detachable wheelchair in the same style as other Lego accessories. The achievement was in response to an online petition
by Toy Like Me
, which had over 20,000 signatures and encouraged toy companies to represent more diversity. The petition urged many toy companies to start creating disability-friendly, inclusive toys.
Amidst lots of hype
from the media, Mattel has plans in June, to introduce a barbie in a wheelchair and a Barbie with a prosthetic leg. Although Mattel has sold wheelchair Barbies in the past, such as Becky Barbie
, there are none currently being sold. This summer, these dolls should be available everywhere to promote inclusiveness and raise the visibility of people with disabilities. Kids can expect the traditional Barbie look that they'v grown to love, with long hair and large eyes - but with the diversity we've been missing.
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Soon, Barbies will represent better diversity! Image: Mattel[/caption]
These classic dolls, which are based on the equally popular American Girl books, can represent a wide range of disabilities. American Girl dolls
are fully customizable, so you can get a doll that looks just like your child. Then, you can choose from a number of accessories associated with disabilities, including a wheelchair, crutches, hearing aids, diabetes kits, glasses and a walking stick for kids that have seeing impairments
. American Girl has long been cherished as a company that provides inclusive toys with diverse representation. The books are also fun, too. They're full of adventures featuring girls from all over the world and many time periods.
Books for Kids in the Disability Community
In addition to inclusive toys, there are quite a few children's books about characters with disabilities. A popular one for kids who roll is called Don't Call me Special: A First Look at Disability.
Some other good ones include Meet ClaraBelle Blue
by Adiba Nelson, about a little girl living with cerebral palsy, or Mama Zooms
by Jane Cowen-Fletcher,
about having a parent who uses a wheelchair. This is just the tip of the iceberg for diverse children's books. For more, search Google
or ask your librarian!
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There are tons of children's books out there featuring characters with disabilities![/caption]
Do you have a favorite inclusive toy or children's book celebrating disability that we missed? Let us know and we'll include it in a future blog!!