A few weeks ago, the video below went viral on Facebook. A young girl, Emma, received a gift that would make her feel validated, appreciated. This doll was a reminder that there are others like her.
This video is an immediate heartwarming reminder of some amazing work being done by organizations like A Step Ahead Prosthetics and their American Girl project. Emma’s hysterical tears of joy are a reminder why they do the work they do.
This video also provides us an important reminder of why we do this work at KIT– the work to promote, inspire, and facilitate inclusion. Though I can’t speak for Emma, I would imagine her immediate feeling of excitement stems from a more frequent lack of belonging, frustration, lack of confidence, or feeling of being left out. Emma is so much more than her disability, but her disability is a part of who she is. She has likely had experiences where other kids fixated on her disability and, out of fear of being rude, chose to exclude her. Many kids with disabilities may feel left out even in an inclusive setting. Inclusion has to be done right in order for it to have its intended impact.
At KIT, we promote having open discussions about differences, celebrating and affirming our kids’ identities while encouraging other kids to value them as well. We should have dolls like Emma’s new American Girl doll, but some day, they should be just one of many ways that kids with disabilities feel affirmed. At KIT, we envision a society where all kids feel valued and appreciated, where both differences and similarities are respected and embraced.
A huge thank you to Emma and her family for beginning this conversation, and for sharing this moment of genuine joy with the world. We are all better for having this window into your world!
— Written by Elise, KIT Blog Writer/Editor
Kids Included Together (KIT) is a non-profit located in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. We help make the world a more inclusive place by providing live and online training to people who work with kids. We teach strategies, accommodations and best practices to include kids with and without disabilities in before & after school programs. Inclusive environments create stronger communities. Learn more about our work at www.KITonline.org.