Mia is an avid wildlife photographer who is never seen without her trusty camera. She inspires all children to share in her love of exotic animals and the everyday nature around them. She is also hearing impaired and as such wears a cochlear implant.
Studies have shown us the long-term mental, physical and psychological effects that hearing loss can have on children. Most apparent is a sense of disconnection from the world and the people around them. Feelings of isolation can lead to loneliness and ultimately depression and that is where Mia comes in - children love her because she makes them feel like they are not alone.
Mia is the very first Lottie Doll to be introduced with a cochlear implant and of course her prized camera. The doll was developed in collaboration with a creative collective called Toy Like Me, who aim to celebrate disability in toys and positively represent 150 million children with disabilities worldwide. Toy Like Me is the brainchild of journalist Rebecca Atkinson who wears a hearing aid and couldn’t fail to notice the lack of positive disability presentation in toys. “When I was growing up in the 80s,” says Rebecca, “I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed. I wanted the global toy industry to act, to better represent the 150 million children worldwide with disability and difference.”
Psychologist Dr Sian Jones from Goldsmiths, University of London has studied the effects of playing with toys with disability and difference on the attitudes of children without disability and difference. Interviewing hundreds of children, she found that after playing with toys like the Mia doll, children were more open to forming friendships with peers with disability and difference.
In short, Mia is here to educate parents and children about cochlear implants and how incredible they are.
Mia says that not all children are the same, some can’t hear as well and that’s okay – there are wonderful inventions that can help.