Children with disabilities don’t always find themselves with a plethora of friends. As a matter of fact, studies show that the disabilities they are suffering could even hamper their interaction with their brothers or sisters, much less their friends. This, in turn, leads to problems in socialization even as the child grows up.
In many situations, it is often not the child with disability that needs to be educated, but the people around him. If your disabled child has brothers or sisters, one of the best ways to make your other children understand and be more receptive to their sibling’s plight is to have them care for a doll.
How can a doll help? Children see themselves in the dolls they play with, or see an intimate friend to whom they can confide and tell secrets. The child can also fill the doll with so much trust and vulnerability that he/she learns to give care and entrust his/her fears and inhibitions to the doll, while overcoming them. For children with disabled siblings, a doll can pose as the “other”, assuming roles assigned to it by the child.
Did you have a doll as a child? Do you remember how it made you feel like? Dolls can comfort a confused child, offering itself up as a relatable other, ‘someone’ who will understand and stay by his/her side through difficult situations.