Normally I don’t post more then one blog post per month (except with the exception of child life month), but I feel as though I have been called to share this particular blog post with you…
Growing up, I had many Barbie dolls and limitless accessories. Barbie’s magic dream house, hot pink Barbie car, shoes and clothes. I even had fake food for Barbie and Ken to eat on their spaghetti date night. While countless other little girls shared in the same toy; there were and still are girls who suffer from some kind of medical condition or disability who have to settle on just your average run of the mill doll.
What about these girls? The one’s who are suffering from hearing loss, diabetes, have a prosthetic leg due to an amputation and much more. How do these girls express themselves when they have no doll to do that with? No doll that is like them.
While this may seem to be a daunting blog post, trust me it isn’t. Good comes from it I promise.
What do the girls who have a disability engage with and play with while their peers play with a blonde hair blue eyed Barbie?
In January of 2016 American Girl began offering a diabetes care kit for their dolls. The kit includes an insulin pump, glucose tablets, and a blood sugar monitor. Since then this company has started to sell accessories like crutches, wheelchairs, service dogs, and allergy-free lunch packs complete with a miniature EpiPen.
Not only is American Girl selling accessories to fit those needs of girls who have medical conditions and disabilities, but Playmobil from Great Britain has also started to sell dolls with disabilities. Playmobil founder Rebecca Atkinson states that “There are 770,000 children in the U.K. with disabilities and more than 150 million children worldwide.”
Feeling as though children with disabilities had no toy to turn to, Atkinson and friends began to create doll accessories to reflect some of the disabilities that children face, starting with a tiny cochlear implant made from a button and clay. We all have to start somewhere. Right!?
Through it all American Girl Doll and Playmobil has given girls who have a disability the opportunity to express themselves through what they know best—play. Not only that, but this gives these girls the opportunity to engage with their peers and feel like one of the group once again; with a toy that is all about them.
See link to video of a little girl receiving an American Girl doll who has a prosthetic just like she does! Little girl receives doll with a prosthetic leg just like her
(Thanks to A Step Ahead Prosthetic for creating the leg for the doll to match the girls).