Campaign for childrens’ dolls with disabilities takes off online

Iconic and instantly-recognisable dolls are getting a new makeover to reflect disabilities following a popular hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

Mother and journalist Rebecca Atkinson set up the #ToyLikeMe hashtag on Twitter after noticing that none of her children’s toys reflected disability.

Mrs Atkinson said: “As someone who had grown up wearing hearing aids, I remembered first-hand how it felt to be a child who never saw themselves represented by the mainstream and what that can do to a child with a disability’s self esteem.”

Mrs Atkinson set up the Facebook page and Twitter account, which would go on to inspire a range of Tinkerbelle Fairy dolls wearing pink cochlear implants, alongside Karen Newell, whose son suffers from a visual impairment and hearing difficulties.

The duo used the #ToyLikeMe hashtag to urge the industry to better represent disabled children.

The friends have been promoting photos of a range of instantly-recognisable toys online, including Ken dolls with walking aids, Playmobil people in wheelchairs and My Little Ponies acting as guides for visually impaired toys.

Under the traction the campaign has gained on Twitter and Facebook, Playmobil have agreed to include new toys showcasing disabilities as a part of their product range.

Mrs Atkinson and Ms Newell hope that one day dolls will reflect the full spectrum of disability and diversity.

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