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Kids love Legos. I mean, they really love Legos! So it's no surprise that parents the world over have been requesting that Lego come out with a figure that has a disability so that more children can relate to the popular toy. And that's what people thought was happening when the company came out with the Duplo Community People Set, a collection intended to educate young children about a variety of different people and occupations, as reported by Yahoo Parenting. Instead, they got an elderly man in a wheelchair.
Now organizers for the social media campaign Toy Like Me, a parent-run group calling on the toy industry to produce toys with disabilities, say the old man in the wheelchair doesn't relate to kids with disabilities, and furthers the stereotype that only older people are disabled.
"We applaud Lego for producing a wheelchair-using Duplo figure," Rebecca Atkinson, co-founder of the Toy Like Me campaign, said in a press release. "But it's so disappointing that the only wheelchair-using figure across all Lego products is an elderly person being pushed along by a younger figure. What does this say to children about disability? That it only exists in the over-65?"
Toy Like Me has launched a Change.org petition to get Lego and Hasbro to rethink their figures to include children with disabilities. It has nearly 18,000 signatures so far.
"Please be the first to take disability out of toy hospital sets and into the skate park!" the petition reads. "Think outside the brick box! Mix it up a bit! Add some brawn, stamina, a few sweat bands, couple of half pipes and some lightning-fast wheelchairs."