March 2018 Daily Mail Australia

A one-year-old deaf girl gets a mini-me doll with matching hearing aids from her mother. Little Annabelle Lawrence is mesmerised as she points at the blue glasses which she wears on her own head and notices the matching ones on the cuddly toy's head. The toddler, who was born profoundly deaf, beams at her mother as she realises the bespoke toy was 'just like her' at their home in Idaho, America. Annabelle received the two implants when was just six-months-old.

The 23-month-old points directly at the glasses the doll has and is able to recognise that she has the same hearing aids on the back of her own head. 


Annabelle and Sarah JoFirst meeting: One-year-old Annabelle was instantly mesmerised when mum Sarah Jo hands her the bespoke toy that was made to be just like her

In a very sweet moment, the little girl clutches 'baby Annabelle' and gives her new teddy a kiss.

Mum Sarah Jo said that her reaction blew her away and that it was something she'd never seen before from her. 'Annabelle has a cabbage patch doll which she never pays attention to. She is very affectionate with the people she loves but has never been affectionate with an object, not even a special blanket’.  The doll was made for the toddler by one of Sarah Jo's friends who works as a seamstress.  'She wanted to make Annabelle a little doll just like her', Sarah Jo explained. 'I saw the package was from her, so I got Annabelle in the living room and the video is her first time meeting the doll,' she said. 

There has been a rise in the making of toys with disabilities in the last couple of years with more and more companies offering more inclusive items. The trend started a few years ago when parents of children with disabilities pushed for more diversity in the toy aisle. Toys R Us has carried an exclusive line since 2013 called Journey Girls, which includes a wheelchair and a crutch set. 

More recently, toy company ToyLikeMe was set up to celebrate disability in toys releasing a deaf Tinkerbell toy with a cochlear implant.

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Here is a link to Deafblindness support and information.
They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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Vision Statement: “For all young people who are deaf to reach their potential in life.”

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