I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of play and toys lately, probably due to the Conference and watching all the children play! Saw this posted from the American Girl Company, and absolutely loved it! Amazing that children with differences can now play with toys that represent some of their experiences. They also have a doll without hair for kids with cancer and alopecia – I love that manufacturers are paying attention to customer requests and adding on different options for kids with medical issues. Although I never wore a hearing aid, I would have probably been so excited for this.
As a child (and especially an only child!) I played constantly – and many of my doctor’s office visits, surgeries and therapies inevitably made it into my play. Playmobil hospitals and American Girl dolls in hospital gowns were highlights, but I sure would have loved this, too.
We probably won’t get a customized doll with Moebius syndrome unless we somehow network with a very charity-minded doll company to create a mold (which would be utterly amazing!) but these little things can go a long way in helping children play through some of their problems and questions. I’m excited that companies are choosing to forgo profitability and really think about how much of an impact having a similar doll to play with can make!
And for craniofacial-related toys, the Cleft Palate Foundation has adorable bears with cleft lip repairs, and the Moebius Syndrome Foundation has bears with an “I’m Smiling on the Inside!” t-shirt.
Inspired by teddy bears with cleft palate surgery scars from the Cleft Palate Foundation, the Moebius Syndrome Foundation just ordered some bears of our own that will be available at the 2012 Philadelphia Conference (and online afterwards, depending on availability). While we don’t have completely custom bears like Cleftline has, we have bears with very cute purple t-shirts. One has “The Spirit of 2012 Moebius Syndrome Conference” logo on it and the other has the Moebius Syndrome Foundation logo and our unofficial motto, “I’m Smiling on the Inside” on it.
As a child, I was almost obsessed with anything I could relate to about other kids with disabilities. Because I was also book-obsessed, many were books. I would’ve been so excited to have these toys to play with, too. I don’t think there were really disability-related toys when I was a child. I remember being really excited to see that the American Girl catalog sold doll-sized wheelchairs, even though that happened when I was too old to really play with my dolls (bet my parents were thankful about that…)
So much of life with Moebius syndrome is not “fun”… so it’s great to have something cute and cuddly that is fun and spreads awareness of Moebius syndrome!