American Girl and Barbie become more inclusive!

Jen Richardson is an educational audiologist who works with those with hearing needs
in grades K-12. She was recruited by a young client’s mother who worked for the American Girl
company. Richardson provided her expertise on creating a hearing aid for the company’s new
doll, Joss.
In addition to providing pediatric hearing aids and various accessories to the company to
help with the physical design, Richardson provided information that contributed to the
character’s story. According to the book, Joss wears a hearing aid in her right ear due to a
bilateral hearing loss and occasionally utilizes sign language.
Richardson was also contacted for her input on a new Barbie doll. This posed a
challenge due to Barbie’s tiny features but after a considerable amount of time and creativity, an
accurate hearing aid was created for the doll.
Following the dolls’ releases, Richardson received positive feedback from both children
and parents with one of the children saying, “Finally, a doll that is like me!”


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