‘Disabled’ toys do they have a place in your child’s Christmas stocking?

November 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm 4 comments

Your child has a disability, so obviously they need toys they identify with, toys that have the same condition as  they do. It would upset them to have ablebodied toys right?

Wheelchair using dolls, blind, deaf, and other dolls who portray disability, do have a place, they can help kids accept their disability or have a playmate that is just like them.  However giving them just these toys, is,in my opinion, sterotyping, in the same way only allowing children to play   with gender specific toys is.  Equally you may limit the child’s experiences if they are not exposed to a wide range of play options. As a kid, I liked dolls that did things  I couldn’t do, I experienced those things with the help of my dolls, a walking doll, a gymnast, and a doll that wrote.  Toys that do things may encourage kids to try skills they need  to practise, so they do it like their dolls.

Its my opinion that just as able bodied toys aren’t taboo for disabled children, disabled toys can be enjoyed by able bodied kids too.  They may help kids understand disability, or deal with the ‘confusing’ issue of a disabled child in the class. 

Diversity is an inportant issue, we live in a diverse, mulicultural society, and its something children have to learn from an early age. Disability, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality are issues children have to deal with, and learn  about in age appropriate ways, minority relevant toys can help with that for all children.   Equally children from minorities, this includes disabled children, have to learn to accept people, including the able, who are different from them.  Their life experiences, including play, have to be as wide as possible, from a young age to make this as normal and natural a process as possible.  Allowing any child to remain ‘locked’ into their safe insular world, does not ebcourage them to understand and tolerate diference and equal rights. 






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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stacey Riley  |  November 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I agree with you word for word for this. I wish there were not pink and blue versions of toys, or gender stereotyping of toys generally. I’m of an age to remember disability not appearing in any toys. I used to say that by babytalk doll called Sharon was like me because she couldn’t walk or stand by herself. Babytalk was supposed to be a toddler I think. I don’t think toys featuring disability are necessarily needed to come to terms with a disability. The adults attitudes are much more a key factor.

    I’m not sure anyone would just by ‘disability’ toys for their children because of the power of mainstream advertising.

    • 2. debondisability  |  November 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Kids find their own way, I liked toys that did things I couldn’t, but still made crip equipment for my toys, they had physio too.

  • 3. Ron  |  November 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    To be honest, I have no real opinion on the matter, either pro or con.

    I think, though, that the range of disabilities that can be portrayed is, perhaps, limited.

    What, for example, would a deaf doll look like; or blind doll? Most deaf or blind people I’ve known have looked perfectly normal or, as in one case, a deaf-mute girl I once worked with who was quite heartbreakingly beautiful, as if nature had in some way tried to compensate, better than normal. (For a given value of normal, anyway.)

    And would there be a market for, say, a breathing-impaired, wheezing, Inaction Man, suitable, perhaps, for me as a child? It would certainly have represented my reality, had it existed, but I have my doubts how well it would have been received by able-bodied kids.

    And at what age can – or should – play become, or be combined with, education?

    Sorry, no answers, mainly because it’s that rare thing, a subject about which I know nothing . . . And that’s really not as arrogant as it sounds 😉

    • 4. debondisability  |  November 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Kids learn from the moment they are born, a lot through play. Learning at a young age is not through lessons but experience.

      Deaf dolls have hearing aids, blind ones, come with long canes, dogs or dark glasses


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