Toys undeniably play a vital role in children’s development, as well as in building their confidence and self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to give them toys that they can associate with. Unfortunately, this remains a challenge, especially for parents with differently-abled children. So, this prompted UK-based mom of two Clare Tawell to establish Bright Ears UK, a nonprofit organization that offers inclusive dolls and accessories.
Having a four-year-old daughter who happens to be deaf was Tawell’s motivation in making these toys and accessories. She started out with making customized hearing aid retainers for her daughter Matilda, after finding “the standard ones to be a little dull.” Not to mention, they also didn’t reflect her daughter’s personality. Later on, she realized the same thing when looking for toys for her daughter.
“I became really disheartened when I couldn’t find a doll or any toy with hearing aids. It felt to me that society didn’t deem her important and therefore she shouldn’t be ‘acknowledged.'”
Mom of two Clare Tawell established Bright Ears UK in 2018
It’s a nonprofit organization that offers inclusive toys and accessories
Tawell’s inspiration for the project is her four-year-old daughter, Matilda, who happens to be deaf
She modifies toys so they look like they have a variety of medical conditions
So, she equips them with different medical accessories, such as hearing aids and feeding tubes
She also offers toys with different skin colors
This ultimately inspired Tawell to create inclusive toys and accessories, not just for her daughter but for other differently-abled children as well. Aside from creating hearing aid retainers in fun designs, she also modifies toy babies and portrays them with medical conditions.
She also modifies some of their physical features to incorporate birthmarks, a cleft palate and other surgery scars
Through her creations, Tawell hopes to promote inclusivity and empower differently-abled children
She equips them with medical accessories, such as hearing aids, feeding tubes and oxygen nasal cannulas, to name a few. At the same time, she modifies some of their physical features to incorporate a cleft palate and other surgery scars. Through her handmade creations, Tawell hopes to promote inclusivity and empower differently-abled children.
“We still live in a world that puts great emphasis on ‘being normal,’ so if you have a physical/visible difference you are often made to feel abnormal. To a child, this can really affect their self-confidence and esteem. When they go into a toy shop and see dolls with all ‘normal’ features it only strengthens the feeling of not belonging or feeling like the odd one out. I want to change that.”
All her creations are made-to-order, with a lead time of four to five weeks
She also modifies toy figures of famous cartoon characters, including Disney princesses
She also offers Christmas elves with varying medical conditions, in time for the holidays
All her creations are available for purchase through her website. Since opening her shop in 2018, Tawell has already sold over thousands of sets. In addition to individuals, nurseries and schools are also among her top clientele. Indeed, her creations come in handy in teaching children the concept of inclusivity and empathy.