A toy manufacturer is struggling to keep up with demand after designing a ‘deaf’ children’s toy with a cochlear implant.
The Tinker Bell doll, modelled on the character from the classic Disney film Peter Pan, is no ordinary fairy as shown by her hot pink hearing aid.
Toy company #ToyLikeMe was set up by founder and journalist Rebecca Atkinson to ‘celebrate disability in toys’ and encourage the global toy industry to better cater to the estimated 150 million disabled children worldwide.
Before the adorable idea could get off the ground it needed crowdfunding, even to finance the modest kitchen table production line that Rebecca had in mind.
However, it has proved more popular than Rebecca could have imagined and the first batch of Tinker Bell dolls sold out within five minutes.
Rebecca said; ‘As someone who had grown up wearing hearing aids, I remembered firsthand how it felt to be a child who never saw themselves represented by the mainstream and what that can do to a child with a disability’s self esteem.
‘I wanted to change this for generations to come and start to get global brands to include representations of disability in their products.’
Complete with a small star switch and a magnet, Tinker Bell’s cochlear implant looks very professional but Rebecca wants to encourage parents to make their own and is even willing to give away her business secrets.
The entrepreneur said; ‘It’s important to stress that this is a kitchen table production, not large scale manufacturing with Disney. If anyone is feeling crafty, you can always create your own. We use FiMo, string, and spray painted popper studs!’
Rebecca remembers the moment she saw someone on BBC’s Blue Peter with a talkback earpiece and she had a ‘massive feeling of recognition’.
#ToyLikeMe isn’t just focusing on deaf toys, they also have teddy bears with prosthetic legs, dolls in wheelchairs and even a spiderman with one leg.
They aren’t the only company introducing more diversity in their toys in 2016, as Lego made announcements for a new figure in a wheelchair.
In February the global toy company unveiled it’s first ever wheelchair-using toy at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.