Thursday 18 October 2018

Irish doll with cochlear implant represents children with disabilities on time for Christmas

Mia the wildlife photographer
Mia the wildlife photographer
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish toy company has made the world’s first doll with a cochlear implant.

Mia the wildlife photographer wears a cochlear implant. But this is just one part of her story, the manufacturers Arklu say. She also is on a mission to encourage children to take an interest in nature and wildlife.

Isla McGuckin, creative director at Arku, told independent.ie that the doll is intended to be representative of children with disabilities, and has attracted media attention as far away as Australia.

“We have a series of books and Mia is a character in our books and when we developed the doll we kept really closely to her character."

"We wanted to make sure we got the tone of the doll right. Actually on the packaging we don’t mention the implant. We say that she’s a wildlife photographer, and talk about the things she’s interested in.”

The doll received an honourable mention in the International Design Awards.

“We’re a small toy company based up in Donegal and our vision was always to be as representative as possible of real life children, so our dolls wear wellies and jeans and raincoats,” Ms McGuckin added.

“One element of this is about being representative of children with a disability. For children without a disability there’s a huge benefit to playing with dolls with a disability. It helps with skills like empathy.”

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