Dolls are one of the most common toys that children all over the world play with, but there are some children who have never seen a doll that has their physical characteristics.
Mother makes dolls for her deaf daughter and other children with unique physical characteristics
Children with physical disabilities, birth defects or other unique characteristics may not be able to go to the store and see what makes them special in a doll on the shelf.
However, thanks to a mother in the United Kingdom, they can now make one.
Clare Tawell first made a doll for her youngest daughter, Matilda (Tilly), in 2017. Tilly was born deaf and has been wearing hearing aids since she was 6 weeks old. Tawell wanted to find her a doll that had hearing aids like her, but had no luck.
“There was nothing out there that represented my little girl,” Tawell writes on her website. “It was like she didn’t matter, she didn’t fit into what society considers ‘normal,’ so why bother recognizing her?”
She channeled her frustration into creativity and made a doll with hearing aids that looked just like Tilly’s. She was delighted. Soon other families wanted similar dolls and BrightEars was born.
“Over time, parents of children with other devices/medical conditions contacted me and asked if I could make a doll that represented their child,” Tawell writes. “Once again, the mama bear in me was aroused with anger that there were no dolls for these children, so I created them with the same amount of love, care and attention that I put into making my daughter’s.”
BrightEars dolls include cleft lips, strawberry marks, feeding tubes and ports, and much more.
Tawell makes dolls with all kinds of medically necessary accessories, such as feeding tubes, insulin pumps, urinary catheters and more.
Demand increased so much that Tawell had to suspend orders for a while, something she says sometimes happens when media outlets pick up on her story or photos of her creations go viral on social media.
She has no factory and no employees, just her at the dining room table, so a large influx of orders can quickly become overwhelming.