Toy company answers mum’s call to launch doll with cochlear implant

Inclusion through play is the basis of Isla McGuckin’s innovative doll range, featuring Mia the Wildlife Photographer…

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  • ToyLikeMe was set up in 2015 by former BBC journalist and children’s writer, Rebecca Atkinson, who wears hearing aids herself.
  • “When I was growing up in the 80s,” says Rebecca, “I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed.
  • Psychologists have studied the effects of playing with toys with disability and found that after playing with toys like the Mia doll, children were more open to forming friendships with people with disability.
  • Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been acknowledged in the International Design Awards,
  • Lottie Dolls celebrated their 5th anniversary this year.
  • Our very first doll was created five years ago following 18 months of research.
  • They are dressed comfortably in clothes that are made from colourful and tactile fabrics.
  • The bodies are based on the proportions of a 9-year-old child.

Isla McGuckin - Lottie Doll - Mia_WildlifePhotographerMia_Doll+Box_previewLottie Dolls’ Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been created to reflect the brand’s mission: that childhood should be an inclusive place, where every child belongs regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability.

Although Mia wears a cochlear implant, this is part of her story rather than a focal point. A keen photographer, the Mia character also has a mission to encourage children to take an interest in nature and wildlife. A mini-newspaper was created, comprised of nature photos submitted by children as part of an international photography competition, to encourage fans of the dolls to get involved.

Mia was created following consultation with ‘Toy Like Me‘, a UK non-profit who campaign for diversity in the toy-box and for better representation of disabilities so that differently-abled children can see themselves reflected in the toys they play with. ToyLikeMe was set up in 2015 by former BBC journalist and children’s writer, Rebecca Atkinson, who wears hearing aids herself.

“When I was growing up in the 80s,” says Rebecca, “I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed. I wanted the global toy industry to act, to better represent the 150 million children worldwide with disability and difference.”

Psychologist Dr Sian Jones from Goldsmiths, University of London has studied the effects of playing with toys with disability and difference on the attitudes of children without disability and difference. 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.

Isla McGuckin - Lottie Doll - Mia_WildlifePhotographer1Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been acknowledged in the International Design Awards, receiving both an Honourable Mention and a Silver. “A great product has the potential to be life changing. It can be simultaneously beautiful and innovative, useful and creative, designed to solve a problem, make life easier or simply spread joy. At the International Design Awards, we want to reward the strategic thinking and imagination which goes into making a product which will be used, valued and perhaps even loved by its target market.”

Lottie Dolls celebrated their 5th anniversary this year by announcing that, going forward, kids will be contributing to the design of every doll via a monthly design competition. For more information visit www.lottie.com

Lottie Dolls: A potted history

Our very first doll was created five years ago following 18 months of research. We spoke to retailers, industry experts, child psychologists, nutrition experts, parents and – most importantly – to kids. Our dolls look like kids. They are dressed comfortably in clothes that are made from colourful and tactile fabrics. They have play-sets that encourage outdoor play, from fishing to body-boarding to fossil-hunting. And their bodies are based on the proportions of a 9-year-old child. (Their heads are a bit bigger though because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the opportunity for a spot of hair-play?)

For further information, please contact: Isla McGuckin, Creative Director, Lottie Dolls at isla.mcguckin@arklu.com

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