Her reaction proves how important inclusivity in toys is for kids with disabilities
A video making the rounds on Facebook shows a little girl from Texas with a prosthetic leg getting a very special present. Her reaction is a great reminder of the importance of inclusive toys so every kid can have a doll that represents them.
Courtney Fletcher Bennett posted an emotional video of her 10-year-old daughter Emma receiving a surprise gift, adorably delivered by her younger sister. It’s gathered over nine million views in less than two days and once you see it, you’ll understand why. Be warned — you will very likely sob a tsunami’s worth of tears right along with her.
The gift was an American Girl doll with a prosthetic leg, just like Emma’s. The child excitedly exclaims “You’ve got to be kidding me!” before spending several seconds clutching the doll to her chest and crying out in absolute joy and disbelief. “It’s got a leg like me!”
Honestly, someone is cutting a few dozen onions in here. I can’t stop crying for anything.
The doll was created by A Step Ahead Prosthetics, and they are not a toy company; they produce prosthetic limbs. According to KHOU News, Emma’s parents had the doll shipped to them and fitted with a pink prosthetic leg just like hers. The toy came with a letter that in part reads, “After a few weeks of training to walk and run in her new prosthetic, she is ready to go home and live her life without limitations with you.”
It’s clear from Emma’s reaction that this is a very rare thing — a doll made in the likeness of a child with a prosthetic limb. All any kid wants is to fit in and feel like their peers. Imagine the heartache of a little girl like Emma seeing row after row of dolls in every story she’s ever been in that aren’t “just like her.” Her joy is understandable when you consider what this must mean to her.
Sadly, there aren’t many avenues for a child to receive a toy like this. They certainly aren’t sold on shelves in any store. There are some small companies online that offer customizable dolls for kids with disabilities, but that’s a lot different than being able to walk into Target and see a doll in a wheelchair or wearing a prosthesis. The social media movement #ToyLikeMe actively campaigns for toy companies to represent kids like Emma by asking toy makers to create dolls in the likeness of a child with a disability.
Frankly, it’s hard to understand why this isn’t really happening yet.
When you consider the zillion accessories available for American Girl dolls and other doll brands it’s tough to grasp what would be so hard about creating a prosthetic limb too. To their credit, American Girl does offer a diabetes care kit for dolls and a wheelchair, but why not expand on that? Seeing Emma’s reaction is proof-positive that it would be a welcome addition to their line of dolls and accessories. Why not make a child feel included if it’s as simple as producing a few more plastic parts?
If watching Emma exclaim, “Thank you for making a doll like me!” isn’t enough to convince the world that every child deserves a doll that represents them, I’m not sure what is. This video going viral will hopefully make a big difference in the lives of kids with disabilities. Every child deserves to feel included and it’s wonderful that Emma’s infectious happiness might translate to companies taking note and making these toys easily available to other kids like her.