Tag Archives: Aaron Fotheringham

Diverse & Inclusive Toys for Kids Who Roll

Lego boy in wheelchair playing ball with his friends in the park as disability-friendly toys.

Lego boy in wheelchair playing ball with his friends in the park

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.

We put together a list of cool, inclusive toys and books for kids who roll! #AMSVans #SpecialNeedsKids Click To Tweet

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)!

hotwheels wcmx wheelie chair

Photos of the Hotwheels Wheelie Chair in action, courtesy of Aaron Fotheringham.

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.

Wheelchair Barbie

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.

barbies fashionistas line including barbie in wheelchair

Soon, Barbies will represent better diversity! Image: Mattel

American Girl

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!

mother and baby reading

There are tons of children’s books out there featuring characters with disabilities!

 

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!!

Wheelchair Sports

World’s First Wheelchair Double Backflip by Aaron Fotheringham

We were first awed by Aaron Fotheringham’s performance in 2006 when he accomplished the world’s first single backflip in a wheelchair at the age of 14.  The feat landed him a spot in the record books, and he has been featured at many sporting events inspiring people all over the world.  Since his first triumph, he set a new goal that took even more courage.  After a countless amount of failed attempts over several months including multiple bruises, several concussions and a broken elbow, Aaron Fotheringham, now age 18, has succeeded in performing the world’s first double backflip in a wheelchair.

Aaron Fotheringham was born with spina bifida and as a result is paralyzed from the waist down.  He never let this stop him, though, and his brother inspired him to join him at skate parks at the age of 8.  He spent most of his childhood at the skate park and imitated all the tricks using his wheelchair that the other skaters were doing.

‘I grew to like my chair because it was like having a skateboard with me all the time.’

Clinging onto an extended bungee rope, that pulled him and his wheelchair towards a ramp, he finally fulfilled his second dream of the double backflip at an extreme sports training camp on Aug. 26.

“It was the best feeling ever, I can’t even explain how happy I was,” he said.  “I’d been trying and trying so hard and to finally get it I was like, ‘Whoa, did I just really land it?’ I had to check my camera the next morning to make sure!”

He was excited to call his mom to tell her the big news.  She has always been a huge supporter of her son, although she confesses that it is very hard for her to watch him fall.

He calls the double backflip the “Bible Backflip” because “it takes a whole lot of faith and courage to pull off.”

Aaron Fotheringham also wants to show the world that being in a wheelchair doesn’t have to be a hindrance.

“There’s no reason to look at a wheelchair as a medical device, it’s better to look at it like a bike, we’re on it not in it,” he says defiantly.

Aaron is currently on a world tour for the American TV show Nitro Circus, where stuntman Travis Pastrana and his friends perform nail-biting stunts in different countries.

In other  news that will trouble his mother, Aaron said: “The next stunt I want to do is a front flip and then a double front flip. I’m not going to stop. There will always be another stunt to try.”

Watch Aaron’s first double backflip video below: