The American Girl dolls are cute and empowering, and they come in all different races and colors… but they don't have one category that could really use that kind of support.
We're talking about a doll that's disabled, one that young disabled children are able to relate to — and that's exactly what Melissa Shang and her Change.org petition are all about.
At 10 years old, Melissa is wise beyond her years, and she also has Charcot-Marie-Tooth… a form of muscular dystrophy. If you just listen to her for less than 60 seconds, you'll know exactly why she — and others with disabilities — deserve a new kind of doll.
Here's a taste of what she says:
When I was seven, like most of my classmates, I fell in love with American Girl dolls—historical and modern girls with stories about overcoming obstacles…
Of all the American Girl dolls, my favorites are the Girl of the Years. Every year, American Girl introduces a brand-new character with a story about finding success in the face of challenges today. Girls of the Year come from all different places, from Hawaii to New Mexico, and they help girls learn what it’s like to be someone else… Girls of the Year have helped me understand how it feels to be someone else.
However, none of the American Girl Girls of the Year are like me. None of them have a disability.
She then opens out emotional floodgates, and all we want in this world is for her to succeed in everything she does!
We think it's so important for toy creators to listen and make toys for ALL kids. Relating to and loving something that's special enough to become a doll — and it has a disability like you, well, we'd say that would be an incredible thing.
P.S. Small animals, like hamsters and guinea pigs, make great family pets! If you're interested in adopting one for yourself or a family, just remember they deserve the same care you'd give a cat or dog. When children learn how to properly handle the fragile animals, everyone is happier for it!