Kmart's inclusive doll win: ‘It has a cane like me!’
A Kmart fan has taken to Facebook to share a touching post about her son and some inclusive toys she found at her store.
Emma Evert took to the Kmart Mums Australia Facebook group and shared photos of her son Harlen with a doll that is vision impaired, just like him.
She wrote, "Kmart absolutely killing it with the new range of inclusive dolls. It is so important that kids with disabilities are represented in TV, books and toys.
"It’s equally important [their] typical developing peers have exposure to these things."
"It empowers kids to celebrate ability!" She added that her son was "one super happy boy this afternoon".
In one of the photos, Emma showed Kmart's four inclusive dolls, one was a male doll that had hearing aids, the next was the doll Emma's son was playing with, which is a female doll wearing glasses and holding a cane, the next was a female doll with a cast on her leg and crutches and the last one was another female doll in a wheelchair.
The dolls appear to retail for $12 on the Kmart website.
People were quick to comment on the post sharing their excitement. One user wrote, "This makes me really happy they have done this."
Another added, "You said that perfectly. Well done to Kmart."
Someone else wrote, "My younger sister has cerebral palsy and was so happy to finally see a barbie with a wheelchair! She even got one for my son (her nephew). So great."
"These are awesome!! I hope they don't stop there. I’d love one with AFO's [ankle-foot orthosis] on or with an assistance dog. I have been so wrapped with all of Kmart's affordable therapy equipment as well," another added.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle Emma explained that Harlen has septo-optic dysplasia, which means he's legally blind.
"His right eye has no vision at all and his left eye has very poor vision. He needs a cane and will be a Braille user," she explained.
Speaking about how well people with disabilities have been represented across TV, books and toys, Emma said she previously thought they weren't represented well enough.
She added, "However I have noticed ABC kids has many inclusive shows on at the moment, as well as offering audio description on a few of their cartoons (audio description is a voice over of the cartoon so someone with a vision impairment knows what’s happening through the episode).
"Books about inclusion are hard to come by, but slowly I am noticing a change in all media outlets to be more inclusive," she said.
When asked if she's found it easy to find inclusive toys previously, she revealed that Kmart's inclusive dolls were the first she'd come across.
"This is the first time I personally have came across a range of dolls this inclusive. I have been told that Little People have a wheelchair doll and so do Barbie.
"But a range of different disabilities I haven’t come across yet."
Emma added that she thought it was so important that children with disabilities are represented in the media and in toys as "it empowers kids to celebrate ability and encourages early conversations".
One of the inclusive items Emma is particularly keen to see more of, are books.
"Some more inclusive books would be great, perhaps some with Braille – I’m getting a bit to ambitious there – but all in all Kmart has done a great job at starting to introduce these dolls, they also have a great range of affordable therapy equipment items as well.
"It paves the way for other businesses to broaden their range," she said.
Unsurprisingly, Harlen was very excited when he received the doll, Emma said, "Oh Harlen's reaction was just so sweet. He did a high pitch laugh and said, 'WHAT it has a cane like me mum, how did she even get a cane like me?’
"He took it to his special school for kids with visual impairments today to show all his friends as well as having to sleep with it in his bed last night."
When asked if she had a message to other stores about inclusivity, Emma said, "Being inclusive is so important, especially for our young ones.
"The earlier they are exposed to disabilities the more our kiddos will be seen as normal, everyday people. We all just want to be accepted and loved for who we are. It starts at home."
She added that she was surprised at the reaction her post received and that she didn't expect it to touch so many people, "The love from the post was overwhelming and lovely.
"I love that people with or without kids with disabilities love the new range as much as I do."
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