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Team Aleteia



People with disabilities may finally be represented in emojis


Apple's proposed new additions could increase visibility for minority groups.

There’s an emoji for everything … or so we thought. The use of emojis to communicate about our lives and experiences has become so embedded in our culture in recent years that it has also become a new battleground for advocacy, with many taking advantage of the opportunity to increase diversity awareness.

Previous successes for diversity have included the new breastfeeding emoji, as well as one depicting a woman in a hijab. Now, Apple has submitted a proposal for inclusivity toward disabilities. The new emojis feature service dogs, hearing aids, and mobility aids, including both manual and mechanized wheelchairs.

“Adding emojis emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability,” the proposal explained. Though some advocates may be quick to question how this will affect those with invisible disabilities, suggestions to solve this problem are already on the table.

A service dog emoji has been proposed to represent seizure disorders, PTSD,  autism, and more. Though many are unaware that service dogs can help people with these kinds of disabilities, this decision could help increase awareness and understanding.

The emojis have been developed through the cooperation of various disability advocacy groups such as American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf. It appears significant measures have been taken to ensure that the images are respectful and inclusive toward the diversity that exists within these communities, as well. And the increased awareness will hopefully spark more conversations and education surrounding all types of disabilities.

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