The Times: Dolls teach children to focus on personality, not disability

Thank you to Catherine Sanz who wrote a wonderful article on Wildlife Photographer Mia in the Times, on 16th November 2017. Wildlife Photographer Mia, created by Lottie Dolls based in Donegal, Ireland, is the first ever mass-produced doll who wears a cochlear implant.

The first thing you might notice about Mia is that she is plastic and seven inches tall. Second, that she has a camera and snazzy safari outfit. Finally, you might notice that she has a hearing aid.”


The incredibly important and resoundingly positive feedback Lottie Dolls have received about Wildlife Photographer Mia is that despite the fact she wears her cochlear implant, this is just a very small part of her story, and not her focal point. In fact, on her packaging there is no mention of her implant at all, just of her favourite hobby, photography.


Lottie Dolls MD, Ian Harkin wanted to make sure she stood out for other reasons: “She has a range of interests and a strong personality because we wanted to make sure that she was not defined by her difference,” he said. “From a kids' perspective, a doll with different abilities helps to develop empathy and make childhood feel more inclusive. All children should be able to feel that they belong and that anything is possible for them.”

Mia was created in partnership with Toy Like Me, an organisation founded by Rebecca Atkinson to increase representation in the toy box. Rebecca is an avid children’s disability campaigner and former BBC journalist who wears a cochlear implant, similar to the doll. She wanted to change things up: “When I was growing up in the 80s, I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books, or on TV. When I became a mum, I decided it was time things changed,” she said.


Wildlife Photographer Mia is one of the new releases in the Lottie Dolls range. Lottie Dolls have been working on establishing a range of characters since the release of their Chapter Books in partnership with Penguin Random House. Of the 6 characters, 2 of them are male – Finn & Sammi – and there is good scope of representation, with a variety of hair, eye and skin colours available.


As a small company, only in operation for 5 years, Lottie Dolls are doing what they can to make a difference in this tough industry: “Financially it would not be possible to have a doll created in everyone’s image but we will do as much as we can to create diversity in this market,” said Mr Harkin.

A lot of our dolls have been designed to encourage more girl participation in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects and show that girls can be pilots, astronauts, scientists, and researchers,” Mr Harkin said.


You can see more about our company commitment that every doll going forward will be directly designed or influenced by kids, here. And if you would like to help inspire the next Lottie product, be sure to check out our Inspired by Real Kids monthly competition to follow in the footsteps of other kids who have helped to design Lottie products to-date!


Read the full story on the Times here.






About Lottie // @lottie_dolls

Lottie Dolls start at RRP: €19.95 // £18.99 // $19.95


Lottie dolls, an Irish doll company who believe that childhood should be an inclusive place where every child belongs regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability and aim to reflect that in their collection. Developed alongside academics in child development, unlike other dolls, Lottie Finn and Friends are based on nine-year-old children, the dolls are therefore relatable to all the elements of childhood – Lottie’s motto is Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You!


Six of the Lottie products to date have been inspired by ideas from real children from around the world. When launching Lottie, the vision was to create a range of dolls that would empower children to be themselves, to be imaginative and adventurous and - most of all – to have fun!


Lottie Dolls are now on sale in over 30 countries and here, on

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