The title of this article is a little bit of a misnomer. I'm not just talking about what we usually think of as disabilities, such as problems with the senses, such as blindness or deafness; or even such disabilities as difficulties with movement and coordination.
I've spent some time researching dolls for people with many different kinds of conditions and difficulties in daily living. Sadly, my research has yielded very little results.
How many of us have fond memories of baby dolls that we loved so dearly, as a child? I certainly had my share. Most of them had blond hair and blue eyes, I had brown hair and hazel eyes, but those differences made no difference to me, in fact, I don't remember even giving it a thought. They were "normal" and, essentially, so was I.
This topic came up when I was telling my son about my interest in starting to make reborn baby dolls. I was telling him how amazing lifelike they look. He said that if I wanted to start making some to sell I needed to find a niche, an untapped market, and suggested dolls with disabilities. I told him that I had already seen some on the internet. Being a fan of the show Little People, Big World, he asked "what about little people?"
That thought intrigued me and I started my research into dolls with differences. After many hours of searching I came up empty, not even a direction left to look.
Now I started to consider what I already know about dolls. I know that there are companies who market dolls that are just like their prospective owners. Dolls can be ordered in varying skin tones, hair and eye colors, but that's about it. It is possible to find accessories for dolls, such as crutches, wheelchairs and prostheses. Which is great! But what about all the other differences that children, and adults face? It has to be heartbreaking for a parent to find that the only doll they can give their child is one that just highlights the child's difficulties.
At this time, I have no answers, I'm new to this question. But I hope that this article will open a discussion. Please share your thoughts, ideas, or possible resources in the Doll Making Forum.
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