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Girl with muscular dystrophy aims to broaden image of disability

One of the themes of this blog is that people who face the challenge of disabling conditions often demonstrate tremendous resilience.

To be sure, we cover many specific nuts-and-bolts topics regarding Social Security disability. Last week, for example, we wrote about disability claims and job titles.

It is also important, however, to take proper note of uplifting human stories. When people move forward with their lives despite severe, potentially disabling impairments, it is inspiring across the board -- both to people with disabilities and to those without.

In this post, then, we will focus on a 10-year-old girl dealing with muscular dystrophy who has not let her disability keep her from the passionate pursuit of her interests.

Muscular dystrophy is an undeniably difficult disease to live with. It results in damaged nerves and weakened muscles that make it hard to walk. And it is incurable.

But Melissa, the 5th-grade girl we are writing about, remains mobile by using a wheelchair or walker. And, like many other girls, she has developed a captivating interest in the American Girls series.

This series, featuring girls overcoming various obstacles, is widely popular in the U.S. It includes books, movies and – of special interest to Melissa – dolls.

Melissa and her sister have started an online petition, seeking to have the American Girl company create a disabled character to be used as next year’s Girl of the Year doll.

Though Melissa and her sister live in the Philadelphia area, the online petition her sister has posted is available to people in Michigan and across the country. And Melissa’s advocacy for the recognition of disabling conditions should help promote greater understanding of those conditions in the American Girls community and beyond.

Source: disabilityscoop, "American Girl Petitioned To Make Doll With Disability," Dana Difilippo, Jan. 6, 2014

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