Some toymakers have made strides in representing disabled children in their product lineups, some of which include dolls with disabilities.
Representation in dolls is essential for children who are just beginning to learn about the world. Interacting with a wide variety of dolls can help young children shape their own opinions about the world around them. Just as there needs to be a wide representation of ethnicities, there also needs to be dolls with disabilities.
Children who are disabled need to have representation in dolls as it helps them find comfort. It also expands their worldview and allows them to feel included. Feeling included at a young age helps boost self-esteem and helps a child bond better with their peers.
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Children who aren’t disabled can also benefit from playing with disabled dolls because it allows for discussing why others aren’t similar to them. This discussion is crucial for a child to learn how to be inclusive with non-disabled and disabled children.
A 2006 study conducted by the University of Sussex showed that playing with Barbie dolls influences children’s perceptions about body image. Accurate representation can have an enormous impact on a young child’s mind, affecting their self-esteem if they don’t play with dolls that are similar to them.
Inclusiveness helps children shape healthy perceptions about their identities and their peers. Dolls with disabilities are one way to help disabled children feel included – and to help non-disabled children understand and support those who seem different to them.
With that in mind, here are seven places you can find dolls with disabilities.
7 Places to Buy Dolls with Disabilities
Amazon has a wide selection of toys with disabilities that are constantly being updated. More dolls and toys become available each year, which means that you’re more likely to find a toy that suits your child’s tastes. Aside from that, Amazon also provides a wide variety to choose from in terms of pricing and quality. Here you can find Barbie dolls with disabilities, doll toys, and pretty much any accessories you could need.
BrightTears is a company focused on empowering children and promoting inclusiveness through play. Their goal is to provide disabled toys and dolls to help spread awareness and give fair representation in the toy industry. There have disabled dolls that represent many disabilities to help you find the right fit.
In addition to a Down syndrome doll, the company also provides accessories for dolls based on real-world examples. Hearing aids, insulin pumps, and glasses are available to help diversify already able-bodied dolls. Aside from that, there are also dolls with birthmarks, scars, and haemangiomas.
Etsy is an good marketplace to find disability dolls of all shapes and sizes. Many of these dolls are handmade, and some can even be customized to make the perfect match.
You can also find many different types of accessories that can be used with able-bodied dolls, including a doll wheelchair, seeing sticks, and canes.
In operation since 1986, American Girl has long offered ethnic representation in its doll lineup. Now, the company makes a line of American Girl dolls with disabilities.
Some accessories include leg braces, arm crutches, wheelchairs, and even tiny medical bracelets. For medical illnesses, dolls can come designed without hair or with insulin pumps, pens, glucose tablets, and blood sugar monitors.
5. Toy Like Me
Toy Like Me offers a wide range of dolls and toys with disabilities. Their goal is to teach kids that a disability isn’t synonymous with medical settings. Instead, all products listed on their site are from Amazon, and they receive a small commission which they use to help spread awareness in schools.
The Shadow Buddies Foundation offers condition-specific baby dolls with disabilities that are designed for accurate representation and emotional support.
Shadow Buddies also custom-makes dolls according to your specifications, so you can get a doll specially made for your child or other loved one.
A Doll Like Me is a good choice for parents looking to fully customize dolls. The company believes that inclusivity matters, and they believe that children should see themselves in dolls.
That could mean a Down syndrome baby doll, a diabetic baby doll or a doll with any other type of disability. A Doll Like Me will work with you to create a custom doll that accurately represents your child.
As a parent, it’s good to get the discussion early on in a child’s life about disabilities. Dolls are an excellent method to open that discussion up and allow your child to see an accurate representation of themselves and other children. Talking about each doll’s uniqueness can foster a more accepting outlook for your child and their peers.