|Parents of children with disabilities have started a campaign called #ToyLikeMe.
They want more toys that represent people with disabilities,
Now, there are only dolls being sold who do not have any disability.
The parents created a Facebook page,
The campaign was a big success,
However, big toy companies such as Lego and Play Mobil
The #ToyLikeMe Facebook campaign is an initiative by parents who want to address the lack of diverse toys to which children with disabilities can also relate. The initiators felt that toys, dolls in specific, do not reflect the entire society and that people with disabilities are not acknowledged. Therefore, they started a Facebook page where people can post ideas and pictures on what inclusive dolls should look like, and how disabilities can be represented.
After many positive responses from the general public, the initiators also communicated their message to the toy industry. Some companies reacted by expanding their product range, for example British toy manufacturer Makie that created a new range of dolls with disabilities. The models include hearing impairments, walking sticks and birthmarks. Currently, Makie is also developing a wheelchair-bound character.
The #ToyLikeMe-initiators said to be happy with Makie’s efforts, however they also stated that ‘Toy Like Me won’t rest. If small companies like Makies can respond, what are the big girls and boys doing? Come on Lego, Playmobil, Mattell Barbie – 770,000 UK children with disabilities (and millions more beyond) need positive toy box representation now!’
As the campaign keeps receiving a lot of public response, major toy companies such as Lego and Playmobil indeed remain silent on how they could contribute to a more inclusive society for people with disabilities.
#ToyLikeMe spoke of the topic in an opinion article in ‘The Guardian’: ‘Playmobil’s answer to disability is a boy with a broken leg and an elderly man being pushed in a wheelchair by a young blonde woman. 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?’.
The debate concerning inclusive toys will most likely go on, as millions of children with disabilities continue to be under-represented by the toys that they themselves play with.
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