Disability Toy Campaign Gains Support
15 December 2015 at 10:54 am
A campaign to get toy manufacturer Lego to create a line of their famous characters featuring people with disability has gone viral online.
Rebecca Atkinson, a UK journalist and co-founder of Toy Like Me, a campaign calling for better disability representation in toys, is calling on Lego to introduce wheelchairs and white canes into their toys.
Entitled Christmas Wands ‘n’ Wheels, Atkinson’s design features a wheelchair using Santa Claus and Christmas fairy, along with a visually impaired Christmas elf.
Atkinson said Lego was currently excluding children with disability by not including disabled characters in the more than four billion minifigures it had produced so far.
“There are 150 million kids with disabilities worldwide who never see themselves represented in Lego products. Let's make this the last Christmas,” Atkinson said.
“Together we can make real change. If we get 10,000 votes then Lego will be forced to take notice and will put this design through to their development team for consideration.”
An initial petition received more than 19,000 votes, but the idea was rejected by Lego.
This prompted Atkinson to submit her design to Lego Ideas, an online voting site that provides the opportunity for members of the public to get their designs noticed by the company.
So far 2,500 people have voted for the disability friendly design. If it reaches 10,000, Lego will review Atkinson’s campaign.
“We are playing by their rules with this one. All Lego Ideas designs which reach 10,000 votes will be put through to the development team for consideration,” Atkinson said.
“Lego can ignore our 19,000 strong change.org petition, they can ignore our Facebook and Twitter call-outs and emails. But they won’t be able to ignore this one.”
Comedian and co-creator of The Office, Stephen Merchant, has thrown his support behind the idea, tweeting to his 500,000 followers to vote for the design.
In July this year Lego released a figurine of an elderly person in a wheelchair, being pushed by a younger person.
Many disability advocates claimed this sent a damaging message to young people with disability.