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Giving a Child a Doll with Special Needs Promotes Acceptance & Healing

Giving a Child a Doll with Special Needs Promotes Acceptance & Healing


All children have a deep desire to be accepted for who they are and to simply blend in with their peers. Unfortunately, many children with noticeable physical disabilities are often subject to ridicule and bullying by others. When you give disabled children dolls with visible disabilities, you can help them gain greater self-acceptance. And social psychologists believe that when you give such dolls to non-disabled kids, you can teach them empathy for those with physical differences.

Learning to display sincere empathy for others has always been an important social skill. It’s even more crucial today since the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that one in four Americans – across many different age groups — are now living with a disability.

Our firm’s lawyers meet many children who have suffered serious injuries due to car accidents and other harmful events. Many of these kids are having to adjust to being temporarily or permanently disabled. Our firm is eager to help more parents, family members, and friends become fully aware of the positive healing effects of giving differently abled dolls to children – especially those in need of immediate self-acceptance.

Here is a brief look at some of the companies and individuals who are promoting differently abled dolls, along with a few more statistics concerning America’s disabled children. Those who are especially interested in this topic may also want to listen to a 2018 Ted Talk by young Jordan Reeves as she discusses why these types of dolls are so important to all of us.

Companies and groups promoting disability dolls — so we can all become more accepting

  • Mattel’s Barbie collection. The fall 2019 Fashionista line of Barbie dolls included one doll ready to head out into the world in her own wheelchair. Back during Barbie’s earliest days, she and her boyfriend Ken simply drove around in a nice sportscar. Advocacy groups like Born Just Right are trying to help everyone learn to be fully accepting of disabled children and their families. They are teaching that limb-different dolls and toys can help all of us begin to realize that being “different” should never justify disrespect.
  • Vermont Teddy Bear Company. This warmhearted company sells large, 15-inch, limb-different bears who were “born” (designed) without a “full” or complete leg or arm. Befriending a disabled bear can help children and adults embrace the wisdom that different never means someone deserves to be excluded – or viewed as less capable than others born into less challenging bodies.
  • Lakeshore Learning. This company sells a collection of small, plastic dolls (representing different ethnic groups) who are differently abled. These soft figures of children are safe for toddlers and older children.
  • American dolls. While this company’s dolls can cost around $100 (or more), it may be worth saving up to buy one for a special child in your world. Customers can request “bald” dolls for children going through cancer and chemotherapy – or other dolls that arrive with their own hearing aids and (imitation) diabetes supplies. Buyers are always free to ask if the company can make a new type of doll with physical differences. These dolls play a critical role in teaching children that a large percentage of the disabled are quite young – and just as eager as others to enjoy happy lives like everyone else.
  • Lego has sold at least one toy depicting a disabled child during recent years. In 2016, the Lego company responded to the requests of disability advocates by creating one or more plastic figures of the disabled. The “Fun in the Park” set included a child in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this set appears to have been “retired.”

While this list is not intended to be comprehensive, it clearly reveals that some companies are becoming aware that disabled dolls and toys should be included in all their product lines.

How many children annually suffer severe, disabling accidents or injuries?

  • Pediatric spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Every year, American children suffer roughly 1.99 such injuries per every 100,000 children. And about 1,455 children are admitted to hospitals for SCIs each year. Sadly, black children are much more likely to suffer these types of injuries than other young people.
  • Birth defects. About 120,000 American babies are born with birth defects each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that birth defects are “structural changes” present in newborn babies. While some of these can create profound physical and cognitive difficulties for children, others are less severe and can respond to specialized treatments. Today, birth defects have become so common that about one in every 33 newborns in this country has a “birth defect.”
  • The Brain Injury Association reports that annually, about 62,000 children incur such serious brain injuries that they require hospitalization. While many of these kids are harmed in vehicle accidents, others are injured in bad falls or while playing sports. Unfortunately, physical abuse by parents and other “caregivers” also causes brain damage.
  • Child abuse alone results in about 1,300 children suffering severe or fatal brain trauma each year. Since abusive adults rarely report their violent behavior, outside authorities may not learn about it until a child enrolls in school and confides in a teacher or another potentially “safe” adult. Some types of severe brain trauma can prevent children from being able to use their arms and legs properly – leading to what may look like birth defects or suspicious home “accidents.”


Giving any child a doll with an apparent physical disability can promote greater acceptance and awareness of such kids. Of course, giving disabled children (or those battling cancer or other diseases) such dolls can help build a deep sense of self-acceptance. Empathy is crucial to a healthy society and all children deserve all the love and acceptance they can get – especially while healing from serious accidents.

 If your child has suffered a serious, disabling accident – caused by a non-family member’s negligence — you should immediately contact our New York City child accident law firm. We will carefully investigate the facts of the case and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to cover all your child’s pain and suffering, medical expenses and other losses.