On our list of things we take for granted, add the simplicity of choosing a toy for your child. That's because many of us don't have to worry if our son or daughter will relate to the object based on his or her health status, but with the onslaught of overidealized dolls that flood the market (hello, Bratz dolls!), there is a gap when it comes to kids who want to play with something that looks a little more like they do.
That's where one Aussie mom comes in to save the day. As reported in Yahoo Parenting, Maria Kentley, a mother of four (including two children with autism), began repairing old, discarded dolls and turning them into dolls that relate better to her own kids. Kentley's repurposed dolls, called Hope Toys, have a variety of disabilities and diseases including Down syndrome, autism and leukemia.
"Hope Toys' vision is to raise awareness of various disabilities, illnesses, birth defects, developmental conditions, injuries and other medical conditions and disorders not mentioned, through toys and dolls," the Hope Toys website says. "Change the way society sees people with the above mentioned conditions and view it as a natural part of life and understand that people can live happy and fulfilling lives despite their adversaries."
Just check out the Hope Toys Facebook Page for images of all the dolls that Kentley has created. Many even have their own wheelchair, walker or crutches, as well as head wraps or prosthetic legs.
"With magazines, media, department stores and the Internet constantly bombarding us consumers with numerous images of the ideal look, perfect dolls, perfect body figures, etc., children grow up thinking they will never be good enough in society's eyes," Kentley wrote on her website. "Encouraging your child to play with a diverse range of toys and dolls is a great step [toward] helping [them] accept, understand and value their rich and varied world."