We are glad to see that a range of disability-themed emojis including hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, wheelchair users and people with visual impairments has been included on the 2019 Official Emoji List.

The full list should be available to many smartphone users later this year.

 

We believe that this step could have four main advantages:

 

  1. The step marks an important development for the inclusion of disabled people in popular culture. We are hopeful for example that this could pave the way for more characters with disabilities on television, in cinema and in other media productions, especially considering the release of titles such as The Emoji Movie in 2017.

 

  1. When these emojis become available on Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Samsung, Google and other platforms, disabled people will have an opportunity to express themselves more effectively. We believe that this move is a step towards greater visibility for disabled people in public life and in society at large.

 

  1. Emojis of this kind could allow disabled people who have difficulty communicating to better convey their wishes and views in relation to decisions that affect their lives. This change could also be used as a tool to promote better understanding between healthcare and other service providers and their patients or clients who have disabilities, ultimately improving the quality of support available.

 

  1. We are hopeful that this step could lead to the production of new emojis that specifically cater to people with learning disabilities and additional needs to promote inclusion, participation and social engagement. We are happy to offer consultation services to any emoji producers towards this end.