In July 2018 ToyLikeMe held their first public engagement event for children at the Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival in the Forum, Norwich. They exhibited 12 Toy Box Tales images and provided engagement activities for Deaf and disabled children visiting the festival. They wanted to collect views on their work to help shape their future direction and also pilot a toolkit of playful educational resources which could be toured in schools to promote our message about the powers of representative play to boost self esteem in disabled children and grow open minds in non-disabled children. They hosted a range of engagement activities that were geared towards the representation of deaf children. At future events these could be tailored to include wheelchair users, visually impaired characters and other disabilities to create bespoke workshops depending on the nature of the school, event or group. The following are a selection of comments from the day:
“I’ve never seen a toy like me and it’s not fair that dolls are never disabled.” - Noah “I’ve got a friend with a cochlear implant and he would like one.” - Mahaan “…it would be like my sister that has down syndrome and she is deaf.” - Sibling “Some children need their self esteem boosted and others need to understand difference.” - Parent “My son is deaf and loves Lego. He would love a figure with a cochlear implant.” - Parent
Rotary House was very pleased to be able to provide funding towards the exhibition
Rotary House support
Rotary House are pleased to support ToyLikeMe, an arts and play based not-for-profit celebrating diff:ability in toys and calling on the global toy industry to positively represent 150 million kids with disability and difference worldwide. #ToyLikeMewas established in April 2015 after journalist and creative consultant Rebecca Atkinson noticed the lack of positive disability representation in toys. Rebecca had spent 20 years working in TV production and print journalism (including Children’s BBC) and had always been interested in the way these industries represent disability and difference. Rebecca called on some fellow parents, including writer Melissa Mostyn and former Ragdoll play consultant, Karen Newell whose son has a visual impairment. Together they launched #ToyLikeMe to call on the global toy industry to start positively representing 150 million children worldwide and end cultural marginalization. “As someone who had grown up wearing hearing aids, I remembered firsthand how it felt to be a child who never saw themselves represented by the mainstream and what that can do to a child’s self esteem. To exclude in the toy box teaches ALl children it’s OK to exclude in real life. I wanted to change this for generations to come by getting global brands like Lego, Mattel and Playmobil to include positive representations of disability in their products.” – Rebecca Atkinson
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Rotary House has donated £350 to purchase 14 dolls to distribute to local deaf children for Christmas.