Arklu launches doll with cochlear implant
Mia the Wildlife Photographer doll continues company's commitment to inclusive play
Arklu has launched a Lottie Doll with a cochlear implant to better represent differently-abled children.
Lottie 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 that campaigns for diversity in the toybox 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.
Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been acknowledged in the International Design Awards, receiving both an Honourable Mention and a Silver.
Judges said: "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 its 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.