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Growing up, I loved playing with dolls. But I remember that they were all pretty much the same – until one day that I found a Hispanic doll in one of the aisles at the toy store. I was amazed as well as excited. All children love to see themselves reflected in the toys that they play with. It’s so important that toys express diversity, as it helps kids grow up knowing that they matter enough to be represented in the world around them. Making toys diverse promotes inclusion – and that is one of the most valuable lessons that can be given to kids.

And in trying to keep up with the demand for diversity, Mattel has been more and more forthcoming in providing toys for young children that reflect who they are. The toy company, best known for giving us Barbie, has been around for years, since 1959. In those decades that followed, the toy company’s brand has grown and evolved, and today they produce 176 dolls, nine body types, 35 skin tones, 94 hairstyles, and 22 eye colors.

And while it is nice to see such big names such as Mattel including different appearances, there are still some kids who can’t see themselves reflected in their favorite toys. Those children who may have been born with a cleft lip or wear hearing aids or have surgical scars, there is still no one to represent them – until now.

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What an incredible idea, we ❤️ this! #brightears #brightearsdolls #deaf #deafworld #deafcommunity #love #deafculture #asl #photography #happy #beautiful #signlanguage #instagram #instagood #deaftalent #deafawareness #deafgirl #poland #photo #hardofhearing #fashion #deafphotographer #model #smile #girl #deafpeople #deaftravel #selfie #photographer #cochlearimplant

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When one mother saw the lack of toys that were inclusive of disabilities, she set out to change that. And that is how Clare, a mom of two daughters, came to found her Etsy shop that specifically makes disability-inclusive dolls and their accessories. Clare’s youngest daughter, Matilda, is deaf and has to wear bilateral hearing aids. The mom wanted her child to be able to have a doll that was just like her, so she set out to create one herself. And that is how BrightEars from the Kids Activities blog was founded.

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BrightEars first came to my attention when Isabelle was given a doll with hearing aids that matched hers. The range also includes dolls with cochlear implants, heart operation scars, cleft lip, oxygen nasal tubes, Hickman lines and feeding tubes. Now this fantastic non-profit organisation has added a doll with an insulin pump to the inclusive family. They come with a handmade fabric belly band to place the pump in and also have a sensor that can be positioned anywhere on the doll. The handmade dolls can be made with a combination of medical devices. The company was started by a mum who couldn’t find a doll with hearing aids for her deaf daughter. If you’d like to order your own doll or for pricing information visit the BrightEars Etsy shop 👉🏻 #diabetes #diabetesawareness #diabetic #diabetickids #inclusivetoys #diversedolls #diversetoys #diabetespump #insulinpump #diabetesuk #inclusion #inclusionrevolution #mumbloggeruk #mumbloguk #adolllikeme #diabetestype1 #cleftpalate #t1d #insulin #cleftlip #tubefed #hickmanline #dolls #dollstagram #brightears #t1dlookslikeme #insulindependent #girlswithgadgets #t1dstrong #diabadass

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Clare’s Etsy shop strives to give children with a range of special needs a toy that they can see themselves reflected in. She has a handmade doll with a cleft lip as well as another doll with a feeding tube, both being sold individually for $41.05. She has several other dolls and accessories to choose from, covering a variety of disabilities and needs.

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Have you seen these inclusive dolls sold by #BrightEars on Etsy?! 🤩 Loving these baby dolls that builds #selfacceptance and #inclusion that has Toy Story's Woody and Jessie with hearing aids and more. #disabilityawareness #inclusionmatters #disabilitypride

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Each of these dolls is unique and they strive to celebrate the differences that make every child special. It is so important to show children that diversity is a thing to be celebrated and therefore they should never feel ashamed of who they are. Clare’s Etsy shop is located in the UK, but ships worldwide. However, she has noted that because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, orders might take longer to arrive than usual.