Dolls with hearing aids, walking aids and facial scarring — to better represent the diversity of the children playing with them — are now available.

Many kids grow up playing with dolls. A doll becomes their special friend, a comforting presence when they become scared or anxious and a fun sidekick to have adventures with.

But what happens if all the dolls they are given to play with don’t look like them? What if they start comparing themselves to the doll and feel like something is wrong with them?

This does happen and now parents of children who have disabilities or scars or birthmarks are asking for dolls that better represent real kids.

In fact, a viral campaign was recently started called #ToyLikeMe and their mission is to bring awareness to this highly-emotional topic, which will hopefully then lead to changes in doll manufacturing.

Calling for diversity and sensitivity in doll representation, the #ToyLikeMe campaign asked parents to show how they could change their children’s toys to make them more like their owners. What came back was astounding. Parents had added scarring, birthmarks, glasses and hearing aids, or they had removed limbs, bent the doll’s body to better represent their child’s body and one parent even cut into the doll’s face to create a cleft palate.

These parents are part of a movement that is no longer willing to allow Barbie to be the standard for dolls. Children need to see different types of beauty and understand that diversity and individualism should be the norm.

One company is doing something about it and quickly. A brand in the UK called Makies was inundated by customers asking about having their deaf, blind and special needs children represented in toy form. Makies are known in the industry for making customisable dolls and instantly recognised that they could help these parents and children.

Deciding to take this on as a challenge, the company designed and produced a new range of dolls that represented these needs – in less than a week!

Interested? You will be able to purchase dolls with birthmarks, hearing aids, canes and glasses and these create-your-own Makies will be available on their site very soon.

To create your own doll with accessories including hearing aids, walking aids and bespoke facial characteristics, head to www.mymakie.com