Pennsylvania's Melissa Shang, 10, is asking American Girl, a Mattel-owned toy company, to make a doll for girls like her, with disabilities. Melissa has a form of muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, and she credits the American Girl dolls with helping her to understand "what it's like to be someone else." Now, she wants other kids to understand what it's like to be her. In her petition, she writes:
Being a disabled girl is hard. Muscular Dystrophy prevents me from activities like running and ice-skating, and all the stuff that other girls take for granted. For once, I don’t want to be invisible or a side character that the main American Girl has to help: I want other girls to know what it’s like to be me, through a disabled American Girl’s story.
The company seems primed to listen. This year they added hearing aids and allergy-free lunches to their accessories list, furthering a mission to create empathy. Normalizing disabilities is a step we'd like to see taken. Go, Melissa Shang! Watch her video, above, and sign her petition here.