Source of Title picture: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/19418 ]
Who hasn’t played with Lego and loved every minute of it? Whether your memories are rummaging through bags of bricks until your hands bled, stepping on a ‘1’ in your bare feet or watching mum or dad try and follow the instructions to build a castle or space ship. At some point we got the hang of it and began role playing some amazing adventures. In our minds, just a few bits put together was an amazing model – house, castle, car, dinosaur, spaceship – whatever you wanted.
Then of course the hundreds of sets to build, the introduction of motors and electric parts, Lego Technic, gears and computer controllers…. oh how it brings out the inner Geek in every child and adult!
It’s amazing stuff. I loved it, had loads of it and played with it for days on end. I built houses with secret passages using my favourite hinge piece, pirate coves, futuristic bubble houses from the space sets with the transparent blue shell panels connected by the fabulous monorail….. ahhh . Not a lot has changed – I still build these things in Sims3 worlds and still love designing and creating.
Across the internet, many adults are still building amazing things with Lego.
Lego used to be a universal thing. Recently, of course it has feminists spitting because of the (quite frankly) ridiculous introduction of sets for boys and sets for girls. The whole point of Lego was that is was genderless and appealing to everyone – you made it into whatever took your fancy in whatever colour you wanted. It was for everyone, equally – or was it?
I was still playing Lego when I couldn’t walk very well and used a wheelchair, back in the 1980-90’s. Becoming more impaired changed the way I played and related to the bricks and parts. I could still use my hands and put the bricks together… but what I made was quite different in many ways.
I liked to build Lego towns. Some houses had stairs – but the one my Lego girl lived in had a through floor lift – just like my real house. I made a lift with a lift shaft and attached the castle drawbridge ‘winder’ piece at the top so I could winch my person up to the upper floors. My lift often got stuck so I kept a can of WD40 on my lego table to oil it up all the time. It made for messy play.
My poor Lego girl had to walk everywhere – like me she got tired but there were no Lego wheelchairs. I could build accessible houses and things but I never made a good wheelchair. My girl kind of hopped everywhere or floated. The nearest thing they had to an accessible car was the Lego ambulance and stretcher. I wondered, now, with the advancement of wheelchair technology and accessible design (and of course with disabled people being cool since we showed considerable talent at the Paralympics) – whether disabled people had made it in Lego towns today?
What would I build if I was a disabled child now? What would I build as a wheelchair using adult? For sure, I would love to build things that I have in real life – ramps, mobility equipment, accessible transport – I’d love to roll play as ‘me’ complete with wheelchair and have the same exciting adventures. I know that none disabled children have asked to have disabled lego people to represent their friends. I think that is wonderful.
Hurrah for the Internet.
Well, it turns out that Lego hasn’t quite caught on … but hope is on the horizon. They do have a way where the public can design new sets and they will be considered if enough people are interested (and would buy them of course).
I love the fact that this person (inspired by having a friend with MD 🙂 ) is asking people to vote for their accessible set which included a ramp, ‘electronic’ doors, a power chair and a disabled parking sign. Whoop. I would have liked this set a lot.
You can see it here and vote for it (please do).
Other great Lego wheelchairs.
You can surf the net and go on YouTube and find lots of instruction on how to build lego wheelchairs – Louise Dade being a great designer … this is one of her chair designs – based on racing chairs.
Some of these Lego chairs would be great if brought to life !!
Back in 2009 she started this competition ‘Pimp my wheelchair’ and you can see some of the great designs people sent in from the source below. Now I wish these lego chairs were real – they are brilliant.
of course, you may have seen this … a real ‘wheel’ chair made from Lego.
and who could forget the 2007 Lego model of Stephen Hawking that went viral across the net and was even sold as an unofficial kit on Amazon for while.
It would seem that wheelchair users are alive and kicking (or not I guess if you have lower limb paralysis) and living in Lego towns the world over.