In April a group of parents of children with disabilities and parents with disabilities themselves started the Facebook campaign #ToyLikeMe, calling on the Toy Industry for positive inclusion of disability within the toy box.
I was asked to join the campaign to photograph toys that had been made-over to demonstrate how toy companies could easily make positive and fun representations that remove disabiltiy from the toy hospital sets and place it in the fancy dress box instead! Much more fun! We wanted to put some imagination and sparkle into disability toy box representation and help generations of kids, (both with and without disabilities), grow up with a more positive attitude to human difference!
Within days the Toy Like Me campaign went viral and the facebook page gained over 11,000 followers in under a week. We were featured on Sky News, the Mail Online, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan and blogs such as Upworthy, Huffintgon Post to name a few.
There are 770,000 UK children with disabilities in the UK and more than 150 million worldwide. Yet these kids are arriving into a world where, even before they have left their mothers’ laps, they are excluded or misrepresented by the very industry that exists to create their entertainment, the objects that fuel their development, the starting blocks of life: Toys!
This image I took of a cochlear implant fairy has now been seen by more than 80k people worldwide and shared thousands of times. It demonstrated how many parents out there wanted to see their children better represented.
Following on from Toy Like Me’s media success the team have started an online petition, which within days had over 40,000 signatures. We are still waiting to hear from toy companies like Playmobil, Lego and Mattel, please help us make some noise and get by showing your support and signing it. Just click HERE
I am so proud to be part of this campaign, as it is a subject that I am passionate about! Let’s hope we can prove that people power can make a difference and we start to see better representation in the toy box soon.