By Charlotte Nisbet
A deaf three year old has received a custom made doll with hearing aids in an adorable video clip filmed by her mum.
Dixie Harris-Sandstrom, from Essex, London, was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears at just six weeks old.
Her parents, Amy, and Ben, both 37, were shocked by their daughter’s diagnosis but have remained positive.
After Dixie received her first set of hearing aids at one years old, Amy struggled to find children’s toys that represented those with differences.
But November 2017 Amy found a company called ‘Just Like You Dolls,’ who specialise in creating dolls that represented all types of children.
Amy purchased the doll for £52 which included delivery and decided to film the moment her adorable daughter received her present.
Dixie can be seen smiling and hugging her doll as she realises she has the same hearing aids as her.
Amy is now sharing their story to help reduce the stigmas attached to those with hearing loss.
Amy, a HR manager, said: “I’d wanted a doll with hearing aids for ages as I wanted to show Dixie that other children are like her too.
“I didn’t want her to think she was abnormal for having hearing aids and I felt it was important to challenge the stereotype of how a ‘normal’ doll should look.
“It wasn’t until Dixie was born that I realised how underrepresented children with differences are.
“I also opted for Dixie’s doll to have darker skin too as I want her dolls to represent the different cultures and ethnicities that we have in everyday society.
“I decided to film the moment she received her doll as I like to video her special moments.
“I use the hashtag on Instagram ‘daily dose of Dixie’ so people can keep up to date with her antics.
“She has just a great personality and it’s important for people to see that she’s just a typical three year old.”
Dixie wears her hearing aids permanently and uses a combination of sign language and speech to communicate.
Amy added: “There’s no funding for sign language classes and I have to learn it myself before I can then teach Dixie.
“She currently goes to speech therapy classes and can hear some frequencies when wearing her hearing aids.
“However if we’re in a busy area she can’t hear anything we’re saying as the hearing aids amplify the noises around her.
“Dixie’s hearing has declined since she was born which is always disappointing but she doesn’t let it hold her back.”
Dixie – who was also born with a chromosome condition that has affected her growth and motor skills – is set to start school this September.
Amy said: “I’m sure she will love school but we’re just in the process of having her assessed to see whether she’d benefit more from a specialist school.
“I try to portray Dixie’s disability as ‘super powers’ not a disability and I’m hoping she’ll think the same once she fully understands.
“I’m going to continue sharing Dixie’s photos and video online in the hope that stigmas around those with impaired hearing is changed.”
Jade Chislett, who founded Just Like You Dolls, said: “All children deserve to feel included in their community and to have the ability to purchase a toy that is just like them.
“Its moments like these with Dixie that have made this business venture worth every moment.”