Àngels Taylor designs children’s toys to promote inclusivity and understanding of disability. Originally from Barcelona, she lives in Co Dublin with her husband and two daughters
The toy wheelchair was one of the first things I designed for my business, Little AngelRose. It’s a way to introduce a wheelchair into your home, your child’s mind, and your child’s play.
To develop compassion and understanding that people have different challenges, inclusive toys can influence children positively from an early age. It’s about education through play, which means that when a child then sees someone in a wheelchair, they don’t point and wonder why, which can make everyone feel bad. It’s also important for children who have a disability or use a wheelchair to have toys that actually represent their real lives.
I am from Barcelona, but I have lived in Ireland since 2004. I came here for three months to improve my English, but then I met my husband Paul and we got married in 2010. We have two daughters, Bruna, who is 10, and Sienna, who will start school in September.
I studied administration and finance, and I worked for IBM from 2007, until I took redundancy in the first lockdown in 2020. With no direct family here, I thought it was important to spend more time with the children. But I also wanted to start my own business. It seemed like the right time to make the change.
Lockdown was a time when our minds were so much more focused on family and being together and feeling safe, so that really shaped my thinking.
When I was in my second pregnancy, my focus became about having a calm environment. I had various challenges at the time; I had been through fertility struggles and I needed to make home somewhere natural and organic where I felt safe. I then realised that I also wanted a calm environment for my children to play in, too.
I had hyperemesis gravidarum [which causes severe sickness and vomiting] when I was pregnant, and I spent a lot of time in hospital on drips, so I had a lot of time to think.
That’s when I started having ideas about eco-friendly toys, a technology-free playing environment, and toys designed with all children in mind, including those with additional needs.
We have the wheelchair, but we also have a doll’s chair for children with limited mobility that raises the doll slightly for playing at feeding. The bassinet also comes in different heights, so the tall one is good for children who want to stand and play and move around, while the lower ones are good for children who don’t move around so much and play from a sitting position.
Dolls with Down syndrome and cochlear implants are made by a company called Miniland in Spain. I first saw one of their dolls with Down syndrome in Spain and I thought they were wonderful.
The company has won several awards for their dolls, which really open up children’s minds to disability and to all the different races of the dolls. They also have a lovely new-baby scent, which is wonderful.
The dolls are a perfect fit for my brand because they encourage ideas of respect, family, inclusivity and tolerance. You can buy them all kinds of clothes, and we also have glasses for them, which can be bought separately and can really be used on any doll or teddy bear or toy that a child wants.
I think the glasses are wonderful for children who wear glasses themselves. Children like to see themselves in their toys.
My own children love the rattan toys and the dolls. They love that there are all different races and as the dolls are also anatomically correct, they are great conversation starters about gender differences and understanding.
It’s wonderful to talk about these things, as Ireland is so much more diverse and so much more open these days.
Normalising difference and disability has to start at home. This is the key to a better future for everyone.
Visit littleangelrose.com to see and buy toys and furniture for dolls, including bassinets of different heights and the rattan wheelchair to fit any of the Miniland dolls. Miniland dolls with Down syndrome, with cochlear implants and with glasses are also available to buy.
In conversation with Sarah Caden