You may recognize Nickolay Lamm’s name from when he successfully crowdfunded to create Lammily dolls, also known as “Normal Barbies.” Lammily dolls were made in terms of real proportions, of different races and ethnicities, and had realistic skin such as acne, stretch marks, and scars. Well, Lamm is on a mission to create a new accessory for dolls that will bring representation to kids with disabilities — a wheelchair.
Lamm has created a wheelchair with adjustable legs that will fit not only Lammily dolls, but also Barbies, Monster High, and Princess dolls. Kids also have the opportunity to build the wheelchair on their own, thus adding a secondary educational element to the accessory.
Back in 1997, Barbie released a doll in a wheelchair but it was eventually discontinued.
Lamm told Huffington Post, “I feel that the more representative toys are of the real world around us, the better chance we stand at creating a healthier, more down-to-earth perception for youth.”
He added, “If a child with physical disabilities could see a fashion doll rolling around in her own wheelchair ― if kids classified as mobility-disabled by the world could be exposed early on to this sort of positive imagery associated with ableism ― then maybe we could shake some of the stigma that surrounds disability and being in a wheelchair.”
In an effort to see how children would respond to the wheelchair, Lamm went to Texas and introduced the wheelchair to a dance class for children in wheelchairs, Ayita Wheelchair Dance. Upon seeing the wheelchair accessory, the girls were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to play with it.
Lamm has created the prototype for the wheelchair but he’s trying to raise money with a Kickstarter campaign to mass produce the accessory. He has also promised to give a portion of the proceeds of each wheelchair sold to Big Dreams Children’s Foundation, an organization that helps to provide prosthetics and adaptive equipment to orphan children in other countries, and Ayita Wheelchair Dance.
“What if it helps children see that our differences make us so special and unique?” Lamm asks.
“If a wheelchair accessory were as commonplace as a dress in the doll aisle, it would be a huge step in helping physically disabled kids feel more empowered in a stigmatized society that often overlooks disability,” he said. “Moreover, it could educate non-disabled children about their peers, and promote open discourse and learning.”
Watch the video below to learn more about the wheelchair accessory and how you can help make it a reality: