By Charles Wade-Palmer
An adorable girl was brought to tears when she opened a doll that shared her disabilities.
Layla Bateman, seven, from Bletchingdon, Oxfordshire, was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome and Bilateral Fixed talipes which cause her to have a hand deformity and clubfeet.
Fed up with her daughter playing with dolls that she could not relate to, Emma Bateman commissioned a unique doll that looked just like Layla
Emma said: “As part of her conditions Layla wears splints so it meant a lot to her to get a doll which had them too and looked just like her.
“All her other dolls are all in high heels which she will never be able to wear because of her feet.
“It’s something very unique to Layla, as you can see in the video, she was made up with it, she’s never asked for one but she loves her new doll.
“”It makes me well up every time I think about the video, as a parent you want to hit the nail on the head to make your child happy and her reaction was just magical.
This is the emotional moment little Layla who has never been able to relate to her plastic dolls’ looks, received one which had the same splints, fingers and feet.
Emma designed her daughter’s toy with an independent online boutique but cannot understand why huge mega-rich toy companies are not already selling disability accessories at the very least.
Emma said: “I found out about the toy company Little Moo Dolls run by a lady called Sioux. I started speaking to her about what I was hoping to make and she was absolutely fantastic.
“I’m going to get her to make more splints for more dolls. It’s all to help raise awareness that there are many unrepresented disabilities in children’s toys.
“It’s not very difficult to sell an accessory such as a splint so you wonder why toy makers aren’t in the market for this already.
“You should be able to get a disabled doll for the same price as other dolls, all that’s required is just a bit of extra work with 3D printing.”
“I often receive commissions for toys to be ‘just like me’ as Layla so eloquently put it.
“To me, every client is individual and beautiful regardless of any label the world might want to put on them.
“If this helps to show the big brands that diversity is important in play, then I’m happy to do be doing what I do.
“In one quick decision a big manufacturer could cancel the next handbag and stiletto pack and replace it with a leg brace, a plaster cast, a tracheal tube, a dialysis machine, crutches or a wheelchair.”
Emma said: “Layla’s at that age now where she knows she’s different. She says she’s like spiderman because of her hands. I told her to embrace it because it helps to make her special.”