A recent social media campaign in Britain went viral on Facebook attracting attention to the fact that there are very few dolls that represent differently abled children. The campaign, called #Toylikeme, asked that dolls be updated to include children with disabilities as well as children with facial differences. One company, Makies answered the request with options that are very unique and personalized.
Using technology, Makies described the new toy line on their website “Notable as the world’s first 3D printed toy at retail, create-your-own Makies are expanding their accessory range to include hearing aids, walking aids and bespoke facial characteristics.” This is a company who not only listens to its customers, it responds in a lightening quick manner creating a loyal following that is inclusive rather than exclusive.
As MakieLab CTO Matthew Wiggins said, “It’s fantastic that our supercharged design and manufacturing process means we can respond to a need that’s not met by traditional toy companies. We’re hoping to make some kids – and their parents! – really happy with these inclusive accessories.”
Three things we can learn from the #Toylikeme campaign.
Leverage social media to ignite change. Sharing an idea in social media gives a voice to challenges that may not be immediately recognized by the public. Now more than ever parents can unite and make a difference not just for their own children but for others who may not have known they had a voice.
Diversity creates acceptance. Changing a doll’s appearance to be inclusive of all girls will lead to tolerance for kids who look different. Girls playing with diverse dolls focus less on the disability and more about the character they create in their imaginary play. When they see a girl wearing a hearing aid, or walking with a cane they may be less likely to single them out or make fun of them because they are familiar with their situation and have become empathetic.
Make it personal. Spring board social change with your daughter and see if there is a situation she or one of her friends is facing and how a campaign like #Toylikeme could make a difference. It can be something small like fair playing time for all on sports teams, or access to healthy food options in the school cafeteria for example. Making an impact can be done using other methods outside of social media like creating awareness with the student council, talking with teachers, and other parents.
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