Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

World Emoji Day celebrates people with disabilities

Special Olympics Abu Dhabi praised the move for breaking down barriers

The new emojis will be released this autumm. Courtesy Apple
The new emojis will be released this autumm. Courtesy Apple

This year’s World Emoji Day, on July 17, has been hailed for its inclusivity.

Special Olympics Abu Dhabi praised the efforts of technology giant Apple for its slew of new emojis representing people of determination.

These were part of 20 emojis that Apple previewed to celebrate the occasion, and that will be released in full later in the year.

Images include a guide dog, and emojis denoting the visually impaired (walking cane), immobile (walking chair) and hearing-impaired (a person using sign language).

Apple Emoji Day - Disability emojis. Courtesy Apple
A selection of the new emojis released by Apple. Courtesy Apple

Fatima Mohammed, director of strategy at Special Olympics Abu Dhabi, said the initiative helps in further breaking down misconceptions surrounding people of determination.

“It keeps up with the changing ways we dialogue through the generations,” she said.

The inclusive emojis were revealed on World Emoji Day. Courtesy Apple
The inclusive emojis were revealed on World Emoji Day. Courtesy Apple

“Things have moved from writing, then the phone and now we are in the age of new media, and these emojis are effective in expressing the way you feel.”

That said, Mohammed hopes that the move by Apple is only the first step. More emojis are needed, she states, to cover the wide spectrum of people with disabilities.

“For example, the intellectually disabled are not in wheelchairs and perfectly fine in physical appearance; only their intellectual ability is different,” she said.

“There is also Down syndrome and other conditions that can also be covered as well. But this is all very positive.”

Other emojis that Apple unveiled include stylised takes of animals such as the sloth, while regional phone users should relish the use of the falafel emoji – showcasing a generous plate of the Middle Eastern delicacy.

Updated: July 17, 2019 06:06 PM

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