The Unicode Consortium — the organization that oversees emojis released 59 new emojis last week. Among them are numerous images portraying various aspects of the disability experience.
The new ideograms include people using a hearing aid, sign language, wheelchairs, a service dog, and prosthetics, as well as other special needs. Some of the emoji have male and female versions and variants for skin tone.
Unicode said that the newest icons are likely to become available in September or October. The new disability-related icons were requested by Apple last year.
Apple worked with the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf to develop the disability-specific emoji. Apple acknowledged the additions do not reflect the whole range of disability experiences, but said they offer “an initial starting point for greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe.”