A British toy-making company is making waves in the industry by producing beautiful dolls that reflect their owners’ disabilities and birthmarks.
Makies is allowing customers to customise their own dolls and include walking aids, hearing aids, and even birthmarks, and pretty soon, they will be including toy wheelchairs as well.
According to the company, the idea behind their customisable dolls is to let children see their disabilities and differences as normal and beautiful.
MakieLab Chief Technology Officer Matthew Wiggins wrote on their blog, “It’s fantastic that our supercharged design and manufacturing process means we can respond to a need that’s not met by traditional toy companies. We’re hoping to make some kids – and their parents! – really happy with these inclusive accessories.”
Parents have long been urging companies to make toys that can be appreciated by children with disabilities, and a social media campaign was launched with the hashtag #ToyLikeMe.
They believe that the world’s 150 million children with disabilities should not be excluded from the industry that exists to create their entertainment.
Rebecca Atkinson, founder of the #ToyLikeMe campaign lamented in the Guardian that there are no Barbie dolls that use wheelchairs, and even the American Sign Language Barbie was discontinued years ago.
She acknowledged that Playmobil designed a toy of a young boy with a broken leg and an elderly man being pushed in a wheelchair by a woman, but it’s simply not good enough in her view.
“What does this say to children? That only old people need wheels? That childhood disability amounts to a few weeks with your leg in plaster and then goes away?” she said.
She is disappointed that there continues to be a high level of exclusion for children with disabilities, and it’s something that needs to change.
“You see, I was one of those kids. I’d grown up wearing hearing aids and never seen myself represented anywhere. There were no deaf people on TV, in the comics I read or the toys I played with,” she said.
This along with the Wheels4Lego campaign that Mark Silverman brought to our attention, is indeed a very welcome thing. Children do need to have toys that they can identify with, and it’s not too late in the day to introduce them now.
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