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Why Wheelchair Barbie Is Important for Kids (and Adults) With Disabilities

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My eyes are bad, and I’m pretty sure I’m seeing double.

Disability representation in media and material things is a big step towards disability inclusion. Way to go, Mattel, for making this beautiful Barbie and helping her roll onto store shelves.

With her sleek, jewel-toned chair, this fashionista is joining in the important imaginative play of thousands of kiddos (and the occasional 33-year-old woman), teaching them togetherness and normalizing diversity.

Wheelchair Barbie is more than just a favorite plaything or pastime; this toy is a tool for teaching kids how to be comfortable and compassionate towards their peers who may not look, move and live the way they do.

Mostly, this girl with a pretty smile and confident pose is helping thousands of kids who have disabilities and use wheelchairs celebrate who they are. When they hold this Barbie in their hand and roll her wheelchair around their living room floor, they will hopefully begin to understand they are not alone and they are not the only kid whose body is different. She will help them learn that different is not wrong, and they are exactly who they are supposed to be.

No matter how bad my eyes may be, it is clear that good change is happening; I want to see more of it. Toy companies, be like Barbie.

Wheelchair Barbie and Mollie strike matching poses.

Originally published: September 10, 2019
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