My son was looking at pictures the other day of all the Lego sets he would like to add to his collection, when suddenly his face lit up, his eyes went all wide, and he became very excited.
He’d found a Lego set that had someone in a wheelchair in it. His little face was so happy.
Something dawned on me then … he’d never seen a disabled person represented in a toy before now.
I also realised, I don’t think there’s anyone at preschool or anywhere else in his life currently who uses a wheelchair.
The Big Question
So I asked him: O, have you ever met anyone in a wheelchair?
O grinned at me and said: Yes, you!
It was a Proud Mummy moment.
I’ve always been open and honest about the fact that I needed a wheelchair back when he was smaller and I’ve shown him photographs, explained why I needed it, and answered his questions.
These conversations are usually pretty short, because ultimately, what else is there to say? Some people have bodies that, for various reasons (in my case back then, M.E and POTS), need a little help getting around. I know it, and O knows it.
But what I hadn’t known until the Lego incident, is O must have noticed that disabled people are blatantly underrepresented in his toy collection. I mean, why else would he be so excited to find a Lego wheelchair user?
How Many To Be Seen?
According to the Office for National Statistics, nearly 18% of people in the UK are disabled (I suspect it may be higher when you take into account all the chronically ill people who need to use mobility aids but who are not officially registered as disabled).
I know this isn’t a massive figure, but so what? That figure represents real people living real lives; people that matter just as much as anyone else. And I for one, am so glad that at the tender young age of 4, my son sees them – even if his toy collection currently doesn’t. (I see this changing … imminently!)
My son has more than enough Lego already – however, I think he might be pleasantly surprised to find a set including a wheelchair user appear in his collection in the very near future 🥰