One of the greatest joys in life is having a child, but when a child is born or develops a chronic disease, it’s very difficult for them to be “normal.” Why can’t I be normal, mom? Why do I look different? These are the questions that every parent is faced with answering when their child looks different because they have a disease that has made them different. Now there are toys that can help you with those questions and help your child embrace his or her imperfections.
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Recently a social media campaign with the hashtag #toylikeme went viral and one company in the UK, MakieLab stepped up to the plate. They began making dolls that look like children, along with their medical imperfections.
When my brother was young he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, so he had a catheter coming out of the right side of his chest because he was receiving dialysis. Many people would stare and other kids would pick on him because he looked different.
Many children have to go through this, where they can’t hide the thing that is allowing them to lead a better life and in some cases live. This is why it’s so important that these disability-inclusive toys exist.
The company has a new line of dolls that come with accessories like walking aids, birthmarks, hearing aids, and glasses. You can go on their website and create your own Makie along with their unique features.
MEDI is another toy that Dr. Tanya Beran, a professor of community health science at the University of Calgary uses with her young patients. She got the idea fro MEDI after working in hospitals and seeing the fear of children when they’re getting a vaccination.
She added software to make it work in a hospital setting with children and the walking/talking robot is helping children cope with difficult treatments. The children’s faces light up when they see him, making them enjoy the scary medical experience and the medical staff like working with MEDI because they distract the patients from scary needles and other procedures. The children talk to the robot like he was human and even take instructions from it. It’s a win-win!