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Teacher Paints Hearing Aids On Dolls To Promote Inclusivity In Classroom

It can be difficult to feel like an important member of a society that constantly portrays an unattainable and limited standard of beauty, one that we're taught to accept as the only way to be beautiful, even from a young age.

I loved Barbies and American Girl dolls as a kid, but they didn't allow for a very wide range of representation. You were either white and blonde and able-bodied, or you didn't get a doll that looked like you.

One California school teacher noticed a lot of discrepancy when it came to the diversity of her students and the toys they played with.

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Genesis Politron teaches deaf and hard of hearing children and noticed early on in her career as an educator that there weren't any dolls or toys that normalized hearing devices.

"Being an educator, it’s my job to be as inclusive as possible," she explained to Scary Mommy, "But really, I believe it should just be part of being a human being."

"No child should ever feel as if they aren’t ‘normal’ or as if they don’t belong."

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Recently, Politron began a project that has changed the lives of her and her students: she has been hand-painting hearing devices onto dolls for her students.

"I teach preschool and kindergarten for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids, and my students never see toys that resemble their hearing devices (Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants)," she wrote in a tweet, "So I added some to our new baby dolls on my own. I wish everyone could see their faces playing with these!"

Politron explains that she wants her students to be proud of who they are, and to see themselves properly represented.

Twitter | @gpolitron_

"As an educator for the Deaf, I want my students to be proud of such a special part of their identity," she explained, "Children’s minds are extremely malleable, and I believe it’s our jobs as adults to mold them into empowered, confident, and most importantly happy little people as best as we can."

"I wanted to allow my students to see themselves in toys for once."

Instagram | @jardindeaprensizaj

"I wanted them to feel accepted," she continued, "And overall be able to have fun playing with toys that look just like them."

Pictures of the hand-painted dolls quickly went viral, with many Twitter uses sharing how dolls like these could have helped them in their own childhoods.

Twitter | @gpolitron_

"It would have helped kids like me, who had never encountered anyone with the hearing aid under the age of 60, understand it better as well," one person wrote, "I LOVE this. You are awesome!"

Other users took time to share a few companies that are also working to make toys more inclusive.

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"This is the sweetest thing ever," one person wrote, "My friend has two deaf daughters and she got them custom American Girl dolls with hearing aids. To see their faces light up was priceless! Nice job teach!!! You’re a hero!"

In addition to American Girl, the company Mickey's Mission sells doll accessories like prosthetics and oxygen tanks.

This is so sweet and so important!

It's important that children have opportunities to see themselves represented, whether through the media they consume, the advertisements they encounter, or the toys they play with. We need more teachers like this.

h/t: Scary Mommy