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Dollmaker Creates Toys to Represent Kids with Disabilities

The Short of It

Makies, a UK dollmaker, responded to a Facebook campaign calling for more representation of children with disabilities in the toy industry by developing a line of disability accessories for dolls and a doll with a distinct birthmark.

The Lowdown

The Facebook campaign Toy Like Me was started by Rebecca Atkinson, who grew up wearing hearing aids, and moms Karen Newell, who has a son with a visual impairment, and Melissa Mostyn, who has a daughter with cerebral palsy. The page features submissions from parents of disabled kids who have given their children's toys makeovers to better represent them. In hopes of inspiring toymakers to produce toys and dolls that better represent children with disabilities, the #toylikeme campaign has reached out to companies big and small.

Makies, a UK dollmaker, responded by developing disability accessories for their dolls as well as a doll with a distinct birthmark. As a 3D printer of toys, the Makies process is similar to Build-a-Bear, where you can choose clothing and accessories, but it's also able to allow the customization of facial features, hairstyle and skin color. Its new accessories will include hearing aids, canes and a wheelchair, and the company is working on the ability to let parents design a doll with a facial birthmark or scars in the same spot as their kids'. Both boy and girl dolls are available and retail for $80–$115.

The Upshot

While it only took Makies two weeks to respond to the Toy Like Me campaign, Lego, Mattel and Playmobile have not yet acknowledged the group's efforts for all-inclusive toys, despite being tagged in Facebook posts, tweeted at, talked about and sent invitations by the group.

Toy Like Me isn't giving up, though. On its Facebook page it wrote: "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!"

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