Mom Creates Dolls With Special Needs So All Kids Feel Included

A mom from Wyndham Vale, Australia, is taking matters into her own hands when it comes to getting more diverse toys on the market.

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Frustrated with the lack of options available to her own children, Maria Kentley, a mother of four, including two children with autism, began repairing old, discarded dolls and turning them into dolls with various disabilities and illnesses, The Age, an Australian newspaper, reported.

Related: He’s 23, Blind, Nonverbal. And He Started His Own Successful Business

Kentley’s repurposed dolls, called Hope Toys, have a variety of disabilities and diseases including Down syndrome, autism and leukemia.

Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

Each doll comes with a name, a short backstory and any necessary equipment, like a wheelchair or crutches. Then, the doll is packed up and shipped to its future home. Hope Toys dolls can be custom ordered, and Kentley occasionally sells them on eBay with each doll’s proceeds going to a different charity organization.

Related: I Let My 4-Year-Old With Autism Use My Camera. Here’s How He Sees the World.

“With magazines, media, department stores and the Internet constantly bombarding us consumers with numerous images of the ideal look, perfect dolls, perfect body figures, etc., children grow up thinking they will never be good enough in society’s eyes,” Kentley wrote on her website. “Encouraging your child to play with a diverse range of toys and dolls is a great step [toward] helping [them] accept, understand and value their rich and varied world.”

Check out some of the doll she’s created below.

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Matilda with her older sister, Anna. Matilda was recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

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Rose and her baby sister, Cherry. Both sisters have vision impairments. Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

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Tuscany has Down syndrome and loves playing the guitar. Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

Related: This Man Invented a Font to Help People With Dyslexia Read

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Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

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Photo from the Hope Toys Facebook page.

By Rachel Kassenbrock

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