Hannah aged 6 from York is loving her doll. “It’s doll just like me!”.
Twenty-four children with deafness were gifted with their very own Lottie Doll at the weekend. #ToyLikeMe was established in April 2015 by British journalist, Rebecca Atkinson, and parents of children with disabilities who were tired of not being able to find positive disability representation in toys. The group started to makeover toys to give them disabilities and invited followers to send in their creations. Lottie Dolls became the very first global toy brand to respond with an official doll when Wildlife Photographer Mia hit the shelves in 2017. As well as being an enthusiastic nature lover, Mia also happens to wear a cochlear implant – just like Hannah from York aged six. Her Mum says that Hannah is thrilled with new doll and lays him to bed each night beside her hearing dog teddy. “It was the perfect Santa gift, thank you”.
Co-founder of Toylikeme, Karen hopes this is just the start. “There are 150 million disabled children worldwide who have been waiting for positive toy box representation”. For those millions of children it looks like change is finally coming. Toylikeme founder Rebecca Atkinson, who herself wears a hearing aid, is hopeful Mia heralds a new era in the development of toys saying she “hopes it will help many deaf children grow positive self esteem to see their experiences included by the mainstream toy industry.” Mia is the very first doll to carry the official loved by #ToyLikeMe endorsement.
Psychologist Dr Sian Jones from Goldsmiths, University of London has studied the effects of playing with toys with disabilities on the attitudes of non-disabled children and has found that, as well has helping grow positive self esteem for deaf and disabled children, toys like the Lottie Mia doll can help non-disabled children grow more open minds too. Interviewing hundreds of children, she found that after playing with toys like the Mia doll, children were more open to forming friendships with peers with disability and difference.
“This kind of incidental toy box representation from a brand like Lottie speaks volumes about inclusion,” says Atkinson,“It can really help change the attitudes of a generation.”
All in all it’s been a very busy year for Mia who received both an honourable mention and a silver in the International Design Awards. "This great product has the potential to be life changing.” We couldn’t agree more! We hope all wonderful children in York get many years of enjoyment from her.
The distribution of Mia at the Lollipop party was kindly sponsored by the York and Ainsty Rotary clubs.